DR LOURDES DAVA RAJ CURUZ DURAI RAJ v. DR MILTON LUM SIEW WAH & ANOR

[2020] 5 MLRA 333

DR LOURDES DAVA RAJ CURUZ DURAI RAJ v. DR MILTON LUM SIEW WAH & ANOR
Federal Court, Putrajaya
Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat CJ, Rohana Yusuf PCA, Azahar Mohamed CJM, David Wong Dak Wah CJSS, Nallini Pathmanthan FCJ
[Civil Appeal No: 02(i)-118-12-2018(W)]
29 July 2020

JUDGMENT

Nallini Pathmanthan FCJ:

[1] This appeal raises a conflict between two seemingly contradictory principles which the courts need to balance. Between the policy of avoiding the opening of the floodgates to endless litigation by upholding finality in judicial decisions on the one hand, and on the other, protecting the sacrosanct rights of an affected person to be accorded the right to be heard in his own defence; which should prevail? Ultimately based on the particular facts of the instant appeal, we decided in the interests of the affected person, the appellant before us, whose livelihood would be threatened by the order obtained by the 1st respondent against him in absentia. We append the reasons for our decision below.

Salient Background Facts

[2] At the material time, the appellant before us, Dr Lourdes Dava Raj Curuz Durai Raj ('Dr Lourdes') was the Chief Medical Service Officer and person in charge of Assunta Hospital while the 1st respondent before us, Dr Milton Lum Siew Wah ('Dr Milton') was then a Visiting Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at the same hospital.

[3] The 2nd respondent before us is the Malaysian Medical Council ('MMC'), a statutory body established pursuant to s 3 of the Medical Act ('MA') 1971. The MMC's dual functions are to register medical practitioners and to regulate the practice of medicine (see s 4 of the MA 1971) and in furtherance of its functions, it has the power to regulate the standards of practice as well as the professional conduct and ethics of registered medical practitioners (see s 4A(2)(b) and (c) of the MA 1971).

[4] It is not in dispute that Dr Lourdes circulated clinical summaries of a total of six patients to doctors for the purpose of discussion during Medical and Dental Advisory Committee meetings at Assunta Hospital on 23 September 2009 and 9 December 2009. This committee was tasked with studying the morbidity and mortality in those cases with the end aim of improving the standard of medical care in the said hospital.

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