Appeals Court rules passengers in Malaysian cars cannot claim for accidents in Singapore
The Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday that passengers riding in Malaysian cars involved in accidents in Singapore will not be able to claim compensation from Malaysian insurers.
Reversing a Kuala Lumpur High Court decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that a passenger would not be able to claim compensation from the vehicle’s insurers because the Malaysian-registered car was under a policy that did not cover its passengers.
In the case, a passenger in a Malaysian car, Zuraini Mohamed, suffered severe head injuries when the car driven by her husband, Iskandar Mohd Nuli, collided with a lorry on Mandai Road in Singapore in 2010. She sued both her husband and lorry driver Ng Kar Sze in 2013, seeking damages in a Singapore High Court case due to start in May.
In that hearing, Iskandar’s lawyer, Ariff Rozhan, pointed to a reciprocal arrangement between the Motor Insurers Bureau of Singapore (MIBS) and its Malaysian counterpart. This requires the MIBS to settle any judgment sum not paid by a driver of an uninsured Malaysian vehicle entering Singapore who is held liable for an accident here.
This is despite Singapore’s Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act, which makes it compulsory for private vehicle owners to insure liability for passengers. Malaysia has no similar compulsory coverage provision.
The Court of Appeal acknowledged a 2013 Singapore High Court case, which held that a Malaysian insurer was obliged to settle despite the lack of insurance coverage. It was held that if the MIBS was obliged to pay under the agreement with its Malaysian counterpart, it could claim from the insurer in the case.
However, it ruled that this was “not the issue in this appeal”.
The Court clarified that the special agreement did not alter an insurer’s rights under the policy and preserved AmGeneral’s rights in Iskandar’s case.
Effectively, this means that even if AmGeneral pays the MIBS, it has the right to recover the sum from Iskandar.
The Court added that Iskandar’s claim that he “had no knowledge of the policy’s non-coverage” was immaterial, and that he must take the policy “with all its disadvantages from his point of view, together with its advantages, and he cannot claim the benefit of anything which the policy gives him without complying with its terms”. –
The Straits Times/Asia News Network