A Shattered Dream
 Chapter 1

The First Hurdle - The Saddest Episode In My Life

(Pg. 1)

Though my second brother was totally behind me in replanting, the other two minor co-owners were not agreeable, as they wanted to take ownership of their undivided shares of the land.

In Oct 1997, I put up a proposal to the two minor co-owners to, amongst others; divide the land into two parts so that they would get approximately their combined 20% share of the land and the two major co-owners the remaining 80%.



Initial Proposal

The proposal was to transfer Lots 3685, 3686 & 1687 to the two minor co-owners. The total area of these three lots is about 22.3 acres, slightly in excess of their entitlement. The three lots form a regular rectangular shape with adequate road frontage. The lots were planted with oil palm. This proposal was a straightforward one and could be completed quickly without any need of sub-division.

On 17 Nov. 1997, one of the minor co-owners came to see me in my house and handed me a letter rejecting my proposal on the ground that the three lots were situated on very low ground and subject to frequent flooding.

I explained that though the three lots may be relatively low compared to the rest, they were not subject to frequent floods as otherwise all oil palm trees in these three lots would not be able to grow and bear fruits.

In their letter, they put up a revised proposal. This proposal was rejected by me instantly for the following reasons:

1. The total area is in excess of their 20% entitlement.
2. The road frontage is excessive and amounts to almost 50% 0f the available road frontage.
3. The process may require amalgamation and partitioning which could take a considerable length of time to complete.

Counter proposal


The minor co-owner also told me that if I wanted to purchase their share of the land, they would be willing to sell at RM60,000 per acre! This rate was more than double the current rate in Pagoh!

Before leaving my house, the minor co-owner threatened that he would let the court decide on the division of the plantation if my brother and I did not approve his proposal.

Based on their contention that the land was subject to flooding, I commissioned a land survey to carry out a topographic survey of the plantation. I also liaised with Muar DID to find out the maximum recorded flood levels of the Muar River. My investigations revealed that the highest recorded flood level of Muar River at a location near Kg. Renchong was at least 10m below the lowest ground level in the plantation. If any flooding had occurred it would be due to blockage of the road culvert which would flood at least 50% of the plantation and many areas in that region. But so far no flooding had ever been recorded in and around this area.

Subsequent to the visit and in response to their letter I had no choice but to send them a letter of rebuke. The main extracts of my letter are:

(A). Generally

On the one hand you stated that you have decided to accept my proposals, but on the other hand you made counter proposals that are completely not in accord with the spirit of my intention. I may forgive your rhetoric, as I believe you did not write the letter yourself. But such rhetoric, expressed through an alien mouthpiece, would not be able to resolve issues that require your sincerity and commitment.

Overall, I feel that you have not shown in your response a genuine desire to have an amicable solution to the outstanding issues.

(B). More Specifically

Your proposal to have the 3 pieces of land as shown in your sketch is unacceptable for the following reasons:

(a) The total area of the said 3 pieces of land as proposed by you is in excess of your entitlement of 20% of the undivided shares in the estate.
(b) The road frontage of the 3 pieces of land as proposed by you amounts to almost 50% of the total available road frontage though your share should only entitle you to a mere 20%.
Assuming that the estate is in the form of a rectangle, the width of the road frontage to depth ratio of the estate is equivalent to approximately 0.2 : 1.27 or 1 : 6.35.
© In your proposal, the above ratio equals to approximately 1 : 1, which is completely out of proportion to your entitlement. My proposal has a ratio of approximately 1 : 5, which is more than your entitlement.

(C) And Lastly

You have mentioned during our meeting at my residence on 17th Nov. 97 that you would let the court settle the matters. In the first place, by your statement you have shown little respect to me, as your uncle, whose sole intention has been to resolve the outstanding family matters in a manner acceptable to all. Moreover, to me, it is a shame and a despicable act to drag these matters to court for settlement.

On my part, though I have an interest in Hock Chuan, I consider that an amicable settlement of family matters as a priority and consideration to uphold the family name and integrity should override all other concerns. I particularly detest those people who would go to any extent to fight for inheritance as many of them have made little contribution to its original acquisition.

Once again, I wish to reiterate that I undertook this process of settlement not because I covet any inheritance but because I value family tradition and abhor washing dirty linens in public. Furthermore, I truly appreciate what those elders had done to acquire the properties through mere toil and sweat and I would like to see that no one tries to rip them asunder.

No response was received from the two minor co-owners for nearly a year.

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