Appeals court upholds decision on TNB’s negligence in Bertam Valley floods

The aftermath of a mudslide in Bertam Valley in Cameron Highlands is seen in this file picture. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
The aftermath of a mudslide in Bertam Valley in Cameron Highlands is seen in this file picture. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 11 — Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) lost its appeal today to set aside a High Court decision which found the company negligent for causing floods in Bertam Valley, Cameron Highlands in 2013.

TNB’s appeal was unanimously dismissed by the Court of Appeal three-man panel led by Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who presided with Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim.

Justice Tengku Maimun said the court found there were sufficient evidence of negligence on the part of TNB as the company had failed to maintain the dam.

She ordered assessment of damages to be conducted by the High Court judge.

Justice Maimun was promoted to Federal Court judge on October 24, this year. She heard the appeal on October 22, this year when she was a Court of Appeal judge. The matter resumed hearing today and for decision.

Justice Tengku Maimun also ordered TNB to pay RM20,000 in costs.

The panel upheld the decision of a High Court delivered on May 25, this year in a negligent lawsuit brought by 100 Bertam Valley residents which ruled that TNB was liable for causing flash floods in the area.

The residents had sued TNB for negligence in managing the Ringlet reservoir at the Sultan Abu Bakar Dam which caused floods in the area in October 2013.

In the suit filed on November 2, 2015, the residents claimed that TNB had released water from the dam to Sungai Bertam at 12.20am on October 23, 2013, following heavy rain the previous day, without any warning.

In their statement of claim, they alleged that on the same day at 1am, TNB again released water to Sungai Bertam, causing floods in areas downstream.

The residents alleged that more water was released by TNB at 2.45am the same day, resulting in floods which destroyed properties and claimed four lives.

They claimed that TNB had acted negligently when it opened the spillway at the dam three consecutive times without giving any warning to residents that they did not have time to evacuate and move their belongings to higher ground.

TNB was represented by lawyer R. Harikannan while lawyer M. Manogaran represented the residents. — Bernama

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