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Datuk awarded RM487,000 over break-in at gated community
08/05/2004 The Star By Chelsea L. Y. Ng

KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman whose bungalow in a gated community here was broken into has been awarded RM486,988 after the High Court held that the terms laid down in its brochures and sale-and-purchase (S&P) agreement had been breached.

Justice Azmel Ma’amor ruled that the developer, Kumpulan Sierramas (M) Sdn Bhd, and its management corporation were liable for the special damages suffered by Datuk Soo Lai Sing due to the lack of security at the Sierramas Resort Homes in Sungai Buloh, contrary to the promises made in the brochure and the S&P agreement.

The judge handed down the ruling on Thursday after deliberating on submissions by counsel for the parties. Soo’s counsel, Olivia Ho, had argued that representations made in brochures and newsletters which materialised into agreed contractual terms in the S&P agreement and Deed of Mutual Covenants dated March 17, 1995, were of probative value and should be considered by the court.

Soo, 53, who was also awarded interest on the damages sum, filed his suit in July 2000.

In the suit, he said he bought the bungalow unit in 1995 as he was attracted to the unique concept which promised excellent security facilities for its residents.

He said he even agreed to pay, upon delivery of vacant possession, a service charge stated in the S&P agreement in return of facilities, which included maintenance of security.

Soo, 53, moved into his home in October 1999 and at 8am on March 10, 2000, his house was burgled.

He lost close to half a million ringgit after knife-wielding robbers escaped with cash S$100,000 (RM250,000) and RM5,000, a shotgun, four Rolex watches, jewellery and other items.

There was undisputed evidence that the robbers had gained access into the housing estate by cutting through the electronic perimeter fencing, which was supposedly armed with an alarm system and CCTV cameras, he said.

Soo added that he had attempted to fix some fences as additional security to secure the premises, but this was objected to by the defendants on the grounds that the additional height contravened the terms of the Deed.

He said that after the robbery, the robbers managed to escape detection by the defendants’ security control.

He claimed that the misstatement and negligence by the defendants had caused him to incur losses and damages.

In their defence, the developer and the management company, represented by Maidzuara Mohammed, said they had informed the residents via their in-house newsletter, Berita Sierramas, about the malfunctions in the security system.

They said that residents had been reminded, through a circular, to take precautions to safeguard their valuables.

They denied any contribution to the losses or damages suffered by Soo.


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