TENAGA NASIONAL BERHAD v. TAN SOOI LEK @ TAN CHOON GUAN & ORS

[2022] 5 MLRA 104

TENAGA NASIONAL BERHAD v. TAN SOOI LEK @ TAN CHOON GUAN & ORS
Federal Court, Putrajaya
Vernon Ong, Abdul Rahman Sebli, Hasnah Mohamed Hashim FCJJ
[Civil Appeal No: 02(i)-53-09-2021(P)]
29 April 2022

JUDGMENT

Vernon Ong FCJ:

Introduction

[1] This appeal concerns Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) a licensee under the Electricity Supply Act 1990 (ESA 1990). It is about TNB's statutory power as a public utilities provider to enter upon any land in order to carry out maintenance, repair and upgrading works on its installations. TNB obtained an interim injunction on an ex parte application to direct the landowners to allow TNB to enter upon their land to carry out maintenance and upgrading works. TNB's application came up for inter partes hearing after the said works were completed by TNB. The High Court dismissed TNB's application at the inter partes hearing on the ground that it was academic because the works had been completed. The Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court. TNB obtained leave to appeal to the Federal Court on two questions of law which relates to whether TNB may resort to civil injunctive relief in the courts in aid of, or as a back-up or in addition to, the statutory powers under the ESA 1990. The salient facts leading up to this appeal are as follows.

Background Facts

[2] TNB wanted to upgrade two wooden transmission towers located on the 1st and 2nd respondents' land. Pursuant thereto, TNB gave the relevant statutory notice to the 1st and 2nd respondents of its intention to enter upon the land for that purpose. However, the 1st and 2nd respondents refused TNB access to the two transmission towers on their land. It transpired that the 1st and 2nd respondents had rented part of their land to the 3rd respondent. The 3rd respondent was carrying out vegetable cultivation on the rentice area (ie, the tract of land reserved for the use of TNB for access to and for maintenance of the transmission line and running below and along the length of the transmission lines). The vegetable cultivation was located in part of the rentice area of the towers, right below the high voltage cables. There were also wooden poles to support the vegetation as well as zinc fencing.

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