PUTRAJAYA — The Federal Court here today dismissed Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) application for leave to appeal in the lawsuit brought by residents of Bertam Valley, Cameron Highlands against the company over flash floods in the area in 2013.
The unanimous decision was delivered by a three-member bench comprising Federal Court judges Datuk Setia Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Vernon Ong and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.
Justice Zawawi, who chaired the bench, ordered TNB to pay RM20,000 costs.
On Dec 11, 2018, TNB lost its appeal in the Court of Appeal to set aside a High Court decision which found the company negligent for causing floods in Bertam Valley in 2013.
The High Court, in May last year, had allowed the lawsuit brought by the 100 residents, ruling that there was negligence on the part of TNB, which owned and operated the Sultan Abu Bakar dam.
High Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan had ordered the quantum of damages to be assessed by the court deputy registrar.
The residents were also awarded RM50,000 costs by the High Court and RM20,000 costs by the Court of Appeal.
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 Nov 2, 2015, the residents claimed that TNB had released water from the dam to Sungai Bertam at 12.20am on Oct 23, 2013, following heavy rain the previous day, without any warning.
In their statement of claim, they alleged that on the same day at 1 am, 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 and that they did not have time to evacuate and move their belongings to higher grounds.
TNB was represented by a team of lawyers led by Datuk Cyrus Das while the residents were represented by lawyers M. Manogaran and M.R. Kumar.