Man Wins Court Case Against MPKJ Over Damages Caused By Pothole To His BMW

The Kajang Magistrate Court has ordered the local council to compensate the man RM2,980 in damages.

Cover image via Fahrurrazi Hamid (Provided to SAYS)

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with photos and statements from Fahrurrazi Hamid.

A man has won a compensation claim against the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKJ) after his car was damaged by a pothole

According to a report by Free Malaysia Today, the plaintiff, Fahrurrazi Hamid, hit a pothole while driving at night on Jalan Sungai Long near Budiman Business Park in Kajang, sometime in September 2020, which damaged his car's left rear tyre and rim.

He had to replace all four rims and two tyres on his BMW 328i, amounting to a total of RM3,580, after failing to find a rim that was the same as his previous ones.

However, when seeking compensation for the damages, MPKJ's insurer only offered him RM1,430, which was the cost of only one rim and one tyre.

The pothole that had caused the incident.

Image via Fahrurrazi Hamid (Provided to SAYS)

Unsatisfied, Fahrurrazi asked the insurer to reconsider their offer, but was immediately rejected

After not being able to bring the matter up at the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs's Tribunal for Consumer Claims, he finally filed a small claims action at the Kajang Magistrates Court to settle the dispute without legal representation.

The trial took place on 15 July this year, where Fahrurrazi explained to the court that he had to replace all four rims, instead of one, as he could not find a rim that had a similar design to replace the damaged one.

Following that, he also justified that he purchased second-hand rims for a total of RM1,1800, instead of new ones that could have cost him more at RM2,750.

The pothole damaged Fahrurrazi's left rear tyre and rim.

Image via Fahrurrazi Hamid (Provided to SAYS)

Fahrurrazi's car's broken tyre rim.

Image via Fahrurrazi Hamid (Provided to SAYS)

However, MPKJ denied all liability

Its representative, assistant legal officer Muhidin Mahmud, said that the council had taken all necessary actions to maintain all roads under its purview.

He added that the cause of the incident was Fahrurrazi's reckless driving and stated that the claim for the replacement of all four rims was an unjust enrichment as only one was damaged.

In the end, Magistrate Noor Firdaus Rosli decided that MPKJ was fully liable for the damage caused to Fahrurrazi's car, not the driver himself

He said the photos produced by Fahrurrazi showed that there was indeed a pothole, and that it was clear that the road was not properly maintained.

"As to whether the plaintiff contributed to the damage, my finding is negative," said the magistrate.

"The incident took place at night, and any reasonable man could not be expected to notice and sway their vehicle [in time] to avoid the hole."

Citing a technical paper, Noor Firdaus added that it would be preposterous, and possibly dangerous, if the car was fixed with rims of different designs.

The court finally ordered MPKJ to settle Fahrurrazi's claim for RM2,980, which comprised the cost of four rims (RM1,800), one tyre (RM800), camber adjustment (RM180), and towing charges (RM200).

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Times of India

The FMT report has since garnered attention on social media with netizens hoping the case will set precedence for future accidents caused by unmaintained roads, as well as place pressure on local authorities to fix them.

Speaking to SAYS, Fahrurrazi also said, "Please fight for your rights. I hope my case will wake up all local authorities in Malaysia to make sure our roads are safe."

If you ever see a pothole in Kuala Lumpur, you can report it to the Federal Territories Minister's office or DBKL:

Most of us take it for granted that road tax goes directly into the maintenance of non-tolled roads, but that's actually not true:

Potholes have previously resulted in deaths and injuries: