5 January 2024

Our Partners, Idza Hajar Ahmad Idzam and Nan Muhammad Ridhwan, together with their Legal Associates, Muhammad Hibri Nazim and Aiesyah Mustafa from Zul Rafique & Partners’ Litigation Practice Group, successfully represented Medivest Sdn. Bhd. (“Defendant”) in striking out actions initiated by 4 estates of the deceased (“Plaintiffs”) following the fire incident at Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) Johor in the year 2016, which tragically claimed six lives (“Actions”).

The Defendant relied on inter-alia the ground that the Plaintiffs’ claim is time-barred since the Plaintiffs only commenced the suit against the Defendant after five (5) years from the date of death of the deceased (“Date of Death”) while Section 7(5) of the Civil Law Act 1956 stipulates that an action for the compensation to the family of a person shall be brought within three years after the death of the person deceased.

The Plaintiffs’ relied on the provisions of Sections 6A and 29 of the Limitation Act in stating that the Actions falls under the exceptions to limitation and therefore not time barred.

The Defendant in turn submitted that:-  

a) Plaintiff’s reliance on Section 6A and 29 of the Limitation Act is not applicable to the Actions being under the purview of Section 7(5) of the Civil Law Act;
b) Section 6A is not applicable to personal injury or death cases as provided for in the cases of Lembaga Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja v Goon Institution Sdn Bhd & Ors; Sateras Resources (M) Sdn Bhd (Third Party) [2011] 10 CLJ 403 and Cekap Mesra Development Sdn Bhd v Che Semand Abdullah [2021] 1 LNS 1817 while Section 29 only applies to cases of fraud or mistake; and

c) Section 7(5) of the Civil Law Act is absolute and contains no exceptions rendering failure to comply with the same fatal to the Actions as it is barred by limitation.

The High Court concurred with the Defendant’s submissions and struck out the Actions.

For more insights into this area of law, please contact our Litigation Partners:
P Jayasingam
Wong Keat Ching
Thavaselvi Pararajasingam
Idza Hajar Ahmad Idzam
Nan Muhammad Ridhwan Rosnan

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