In what we were expecting to be the decision day for the Saling v Kanawagi case turned out to be another attempt at delaying the whole process by the defendants.
The Johor Bahru High Court was supposed to deliver its decision yesterday (Monday, 17 October 2016) in the long-standing pursuit by the Jakun-Orang Asli to get information, accountability and transparency in the management of monies due to them as a result of the court award involving the loss of source of livelihood.
The Johor Bahru High Court had awarded the Jakuns a total of RM38.5 million in compensation and interest payments, of which RM22 million was to be set aside in a trust fund. The lawyer for the original 1994 case, and also a trustee, S. Kanawagi was to know on Monday if he was justified, amongst other accusations, in paying RM16.5 million in fees to himself and others, including RM2.2million for a court tout, and for using the trust monies to purchase 27 condominium units by a company controlled by himself and his son, Dinesh Kanavagi, then also a lawyer and partner.
Both have since been debarred. According to the court proceedings, Dinesh, who was representing himself, had asked that a summary of the respective side’s submissions be given to the court to assist the judge. Although this is not a normal court practise, the judge agreed and asked that these summaries be given to him by last Friday.
Despite the very short notice, the Orang Asli lawyers worked hard to meet the deadline. However, in court on Monday, the defendants – who were the ones who had asked that the summaries be done – did not produce any by the specified deadline, nor had any that morning, and wanted more time to do get it done!
Needless to say, the Orang Asli lawyers were not happy with this further attempt to delay the case that has been running for 9 years already. The judge however allowed them to present their summary orally.
Given that the judge needed time to go through the huge amount of documents and data involved in this case, he then announced that he would deliver his decision on 20 December 2016, in the Ipoh High Court (where he is now stationed).
Lawyers for Orang Asli: G. Ragumaren, Kenneth Koh (with M. Mohan) For the Receivers & Managers: Renu Zecchariah (with John Verghis & Ng Eng Kiat)
For more information, please contact:
G. Ragumaren (lawyer for the Orang Asli) – 016-2955816
Colin Nicholas (COAC) – 013-3508058
[Photos by Colin Nicholas & Puah Sze Ning.]
CN-COAC | 18 October 2016