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High Court to hear Convent Bukit Nanas' judicial review application to challenge non-extension of land lease

High Court to hear Convent Bukit Nanas' judicial review application to challenge non-extension of land lease
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): The High Court here will hear tomorrow (April 19) SMK Convent Bukit Nanas’ judicial review application to challenge the government’s decision to not extend the school’s land lease which is due to expire on Sept 6, 2021 and as the school seeks a stay against the authorities’ decision. Convent Bukit Nanas, which was established in 1899, is located along Jalan Bukit Nanas here.

According to the judicial review application document sighted by theedgemarkets.com, High Court Judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin will initially hear tomorrow, Convent Bukit Nanas' request for leave or permission of the High Court to ensure the school's judicial review application is not frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of court process.

It is understood that former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and lawyer Damien Chan will appear tomorrow for the judicial review applicant and that the High Court hearing will be done virtually.

The High Court will hear the full merits of the judicial review application another day, according to the judicial review application document filed by law firm Kevin & Co on behalf of the Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur, which is the the corporate entity operating Convent Bukit Nanas.

Kevin & Co had on April 7, 2021 filed the judicial review application which had named the Federal Territories Lands and Mines director as the sole respondent, according to the document.

The document indicated that Convent Bukit Nanas, which wrote in to the Lands and Mines office on Oct 4, 2017 to seek an extension of the land lease, had received the Lands and Mines office’s reply on Dec 18, 2020 that the lease would not be renewed.

According to the document, the judicial review application is seeking among others, a certiorari order to quash the decision by the Lands and Mines office to refuse the land lease extension and a mandamus to compel the  Federal Territories Lands and Mines director to revoke the land lease non-renewal letter dated Dec 18, 2020.

The judicial review application is also seeking other relief deemed fit by the court, according to the document.

According to online reports, all-girls school Convent Bukit Nanas, which is widely known as CBN, was established in 1899.

It was reported that Convent Bukit Nanas is one of the oldest schools in Malaysia.

Chua Siu Yan, who is Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur, said in her affidavit that the school’s land lease is due to expire on Sept 6, 2021.

She claimed that the Lands and Mines office, in its decision to not renew the land lease, had failed to consider the impact of its decision on the school's students and teachers.

She  claimed that the Lands and Mines office had acted unreasonably, unfairly, irrationally and disproportionately in not considering the school's application for the land lease renewal.

According to Chua, she had in 2017 wrote a letter to the Lands and Mines office to seek the land lease extension. She claimed in her affidavit that there was no reply from the the Lands and Mines office.

She claimed that on Feb 28, 2020, she wrote a letter again to the Lands and Mines office to inquire about the status of the land lease renewal application, after getting the Education Ministry's support letter.

Chua claimed there was again no response to the letter and that she had followed up on the matter in July 2020, only to be told that the Lands and Mines office was in the final stages of considering the application.

According to Chua, she only knew on Jan 8, 2021 about the Lands and Mines office’s decision to not renew the school’s land lease.

She claimed she had tried to meet officials of the Lands and Mines office but to no avail.

Chong Jin Hun