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Discuss the requirements to enter a

Registrar’s Caveat and critically

analyse the cases regarding removal
of Registrar’s Caveat.
What is Registrar Caveat?
• The power to enter such caveat lies with the
Registrar of the Land Office.
• Registrar’s Caveat is lodged if Registrar is
satisfied of the existence of circumstance in
S.320(1) NLC and if it “appears to be necessary
or desirable”
– ie: RC has discretion in deciding whether to enter
the caveat or not.
Lodgement of RC
• Registrar own motion or upon application?

• In AL PL Palaniappa Chettiar v. PL AR
Letchumanan Chettiar & Anor [1982] 1 MLJ 332,
Wong Kim Fatt JC said:
– “It is clear under the Code, the Registrar may act on
his own motion or upon request made on him.”

• Action to obtain RC may come from [S.320(1)]:-

– Federal/State Authority; or
– Any individual who fears that fraud or improper
dealing are being committed on his land.
Procedure to Enter Registrar Caveat
• Sec 321(1):- The entry of Registrar Caveat in Form

• Sec 321(2):- Notification to registered proprietor and

registered interest holder in Form 19A.
Function of Registrar
• Registrar has discretionary power in deciding
whether or not to enter RC.
 ie: Upon receipt of the necessary
information/application, Registrar will evaluate
whether it is necessary or desirable for him to
enter RC.

• But such discretionary power must be

exercised reasonably and in bona fide.
Seet Soh Ngoh v. Vebkateswara Bhd
[1976] 1 MLJ 242
• FACTS: P purchase a property from Developer
(D). D purportedly terminate the transaction
alleging that P would not be able to settle the
purchase price. P had been paying the PP
progressively. P took an action for specific
performance and for an order that Registrar to
enter RC to prohibit any registration of dealing
to 3rd party.
• HELD: D wrongly terminated the SPA. No
breach of agreement. Court order the
Registrar to enter RC to prevent fraud or
improper dealing on the land.

• Hence, although Registrar has discretionary

power to lodge RC or not, Court may order
him to lodge whenever there is application by
“aggrieved party” under S.418.
AR PL Palaniappa Chettiar v. PL AR Letchumana
Chettiar & Anor [1982] 1 MLJ 232
• P went to see Registrar and request him to enter
caveat but refused by him. He then applied to
court to order the Registrar to enter his caveat.
• The court held that the discretion is with the
Registrar as to whether to enter a caveat or not.
He is not bound to act on such information or
request in every case. However, the discretion of
the Registrar must be exercised judiciously and
reasonably without any element of mala fide
(bad faith).
Circumstances for RC may be entered

• A Registrar’s Caveat may be entered in respect of any

land wherever such appears to the Registrar to be
necessary or desirable:-
(a) (b) (c)
• Prevention • Protecting the • Protect
of fraud or interest of: registration
• i) The pending
improper correction of
federation of
dealing. SA error on RDT to
• ii) Minor/ land or any
Unsound mind/ related
absent from instrument
(a) Prevention of fraud or improper

• When there are fraud and improper dealing with the

land in dispute, the Registrar may enter caveat on
the application made by persons or representatives
of the person.
• Once application is received, Registrar must examine
the allegation of fraud or improper dealing.
• However, Registrar does not have to take part in any
examination of the severity of fraud or improper
• If there is evidence that raises suspicion of
such dealing – it is adequate for Registrar to
decide to enter Caveat (adequate inquiries).
• Eg: In which the Registrar may be asked to
enter RC for prevention of fraud or improper
dealings is where IDT has been lost or stolen.
Agrimal Project Sdn Bhd v Pendaftar Hakmilik
PTG Johor
• Plaintiff – registered proprietor
• 1st defendant – R
• 2nd and 3rd defendant – Kemajuan Jaya Bhd
• 4th defendant – PDRM
• A R’s caveat was lodged by the 4th df on Pf’s land
after an allegation of fraud by the 2nd and 3rd df
and police report was lodged based on the
• Pf now applied before the court to remove the
• Whether there was any fraud and improper
dealing justifying entry of a Registrar’s caveat
• It was held in this case that the only way to stop
perpetration of fraud or improper dealings would
be by way of an entry of the Registrar’s caveat.
• S320(1)(a) of the NLC rfs to fraud as actual fraud
which would render a title defeasible.
• The Registrar should only caveat if he suspects
that actual fraud has been perpetrated.
• t/f in this case, because there was a police report
lodged and evidence showed that the disputed
land was not transferred dispite the agreement,
the Registrsr’s was right to allow the RC.
(b) For protecting the interest of the

(i) The Federation of SA – interest must be

interest related to land.
Registrar of Titles Johore v.
Temenggong Securities [1977] AC 302
• FACTS: Registrar entered RC to protect the
interest of inland revenue department in
respect of a claim for unpaid income tax.
• Privy Council held that “interest” in
S.320(1)(b) are confined to interests in land
that are recognised by the NLC. RC, in the
circumstances of this case, could not be
entered to protect the interests of the Inland
Revenue Department to recover a tax debt as
a debt was not an interest in land.
Whether tax debt is an interest in land?

• S. 320(1)(ba) was incorporated in 1979.

• Prior to amendment: Government rely on
S.320(1)(b)(i) in order to protect their interest.
As a result, very often that the RC entered
even before an interest in the land in favour of
Government arises – until the case of
Temenggung Securities.
• After amendment: With the
insertion/incorporation of S.320(1)(ba) even if
the debt is unsecured or judgment, has yet to be
obtained against the registered proprietor, the
government has a right to seek to enter a RC to
prevent dealing with a caveated land prior to the
settlement of the Government’s claim.
• This amendment was done:-
(a) To eliminate the requirement that unsecured debts
must be an interest in land; and
(b) To nullify the effect of the decision in Registrar of
Titles v. Temenggong Securities Ltd.
• As a result, S.320(1)(ba) has been used
increasingly by the IRD to enter RC over
properties of those who have arrears of income
tax payments.
• MBF Finance Bhd v. Pendaftar Hakmilik Negeri
Perak & Anor [1990] 3 MLJ 437
– A charge in favour of the applicant was registered in
– In 1985, RC was entered at the request of the Director
General of Inland Revenue in respect of the amount
owed by the chargor as income tax.
– HELD: Although S.320(1)(ba) empowered, the
department request that the Registrar enter the
caveat, yet it could not satisfy the court that it had an
interest in land to be protected; as a result the
chargee’s registered interest retained its priority.
• Based on the case of MBF Finance Bhd v
Pendaftar Hakmilik Negeri Perak, it was stated
that once dect due from the proprietor to the
federal or state government is established the
registrar can enter caveat. However it was also
noted by the learned judge that as for priority
between the charge and the registrar caveat,
the charge takes priority.
D&C Bank Bhd v. Land Administrator,
Wilayah Persekutuan & Anor
(1991) 2 MLJ 180
• HELD: RC may be lawfully entered to secure
any debt due to the Federation even where
there is already an existing charge on the land.
However, RC cannot take priority over the
prior registered charge which is indefeasible.
• There was an evidence that SKJ bought all the
shares and this makes all interest in P company
entitled to SKJ including the land disputed
• In this case, the case of fraud can be seen when
Mr Wu complaint that e/t there was an
agreement entered into, h/e there was no
transfer of the disputed land to SKJ
• By lodging the police report on the basis of
suspecting fraud, it is right for the police to
request for RC
(ii) Any person under the disability of
minority/mental disorder or unsound
mind/absent from the Federation.
• Registrar must be advised of the presence of
the particular disability, and once having been
advised it will be up to him, in the exercise of
his discretion as to whether or not the caveat
will be entered.
(c) Protect registration pending correction of
error on RDT to land or any related instrument.
• RC can be entered to protect the register
pending by the correction of an administrative
error made by the Registrar’s office.
Correction is made pursuant to S.380 NLC.