Woman compensated for car loss at 5-star hotel in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - When a businesswo­man's son asked for his BMW back from a valet outside a hotel, he had a shock when he was handed a Toyota Wish instead.

Yesterday, the businesswoman received RM160,000 (S$53,900) as settlement of a negligence case against a company that runs the five-star hotel.

Nizam Bashir, who acted for plain­tiffs Siti Rafiah Ismail, 55, and her son Ahmad Faizal Mazuki, 30, said the suit had been settled, with no admission to liability.

"They got RM160,000 in a settlement, for the repair and loss of use of her luxury car," he said.

Siti Rafiah and her son, who is taking a maritime course, had named JB Parade Sdn Bhd which runs the Thistle Johor Baru as sole defendant in the dispute.

According to Siti Rafiah, her son had driven the BMW to the hotel to meet her on Jan 11 last year.

Ahmad said he stopped the car in front of the hotel and passed the key to a man who he thought was a valet, after the man asked for it.

After handing over the key, Ahmad said the man asked him to pay RM7 for valet service, giving him a card and receipt.

Later, when he gave the card and receipt to a hotel worker to retrieve the car, the Toyota Wish was brought to him. Ahmad and his mother then notified the hotel management and lodged a police report.

The BMW was recovered on Dec 31 last year but Siti Rafiah claimed the damage to the car needed at least RM100,000 to fix, based on a quotation from a car dealer.

She also sought RM408,000 in spe­­­­cial damages for loss of use of the car, calculated from Jan 11 to Oct 9 last year, when an amended claim, among other demands, was filed by Siti Rafiah and Ahmad.

In its amended defence, filed on Feb 15, JB Parade said it had fulfilled its terms of contract in provi­ding a valet service and denied any negligence on its part.

It said Ahmad had given the car key to an unknown man at the hotel compound, who had no authority to accept cars from its customers.

A CCTV recording at the valet parking area only showed a side view of the man.

Yesterday, Sessions Court judge Azian Othman recorded a consent judgment between the parties.