Ying Tai Plastic & Metal Manufacturing (S) Pte Ltd v Zahrin bin Rabu

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date18 November 1983
Neutral Citation[1983] SGCA 9
Citation[1983] SGCA 9
Plaintiff CounselKaruppan Chettiar and Myint Soe (Murphy & Dunbar)
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 37 of 1982
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselSB Shah (SB Shah)
Date18 November 1983
Subject MatterStatutory Interpretation,Employment Law,ss 18, 33(1)(a) & 33(2) Workmen's Compensation Act 1975,Statutes,Presumption against change in existing law,Injury in the course of employment,Consolidating,Application for compensation under Workmen's Compensation Act could be withdrawn,Scope of s 33,Whether Act abrogated cause of action under common law,s 33 Workmen's Compensation Act 1975

The respondent (plaintiff) claimed damages for personal injuries received by him in the course of his employment with the appellants (defendants).

It was ordered that the issue (as raised in the defence) whether the respondent was precluded from bringing any action for damages in the High Court be tried as a preliminary question of law.

The preliminary issue was heard by AP Rajah J and the learned judge held that the respondent was not precluded from maintaining the action.

The appellants appealed. The appeal was dismissed with costs but we reserved judgment on the interpretation of s 33(1) of the Workmen`s Compensation Act 1975 (the Act).

The facts were these. The appellants, who carry on the business of manufacturing plastic products for the electronic industry, employed the respondent as a machine operator. The respondent is illiterate both in Malay and English. On 23 May 1981, the respondent, in the course of and arising out of his employment, met with an accident as a result of which he lost four fingers of his right hand. He reported the accident to his office, and was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Some time after he left the hospital and while at home he received a letter from the Commissioner of Labour which had enclosed in it a document similar to exh P2 and the document exh P3, which was then unfilled except for the figures 7353/81 inserted against `NWCR` and 25 May 1981 inserted against `Accident On`.

He went to the Commissioner`s office some four or five days after receipt of the letter, but before he did so he returned to work with the appellants. He did not speak to any one at his employers` office about the letter. He said that when he went to the Commissioner`s office on 7 June 1981, he did not know what the contents of the exh P2 and exh P3 were. He also said that at the office of the Commissioner no one interpreted or explained exh P2 or exh P3 to him and that he affixed his right thumb print to exh P3 in the belief that he was acknowledging the receipt of the Commissioner`s letter to him.

Exhibit P3 as it now stands reads:

NWCR 7353/81

Commissioner for Labour

Accident on 25 May 1981

8 July 1981

I, Zahrin bin Rabu (I/C No: 1717481 I Date of Birth: 24 October 1964) residing at 3 Lorong Lihat, Singapore 2470 wish to claim compensation for injuries sustained in the above mentioned accident under Workmen`s Compensation Act.

2 I wish to claim against

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    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 25 June 2015
    ...3 App Cas 279 (folld) Webb v Stenton (1883) 11 QBD 518 (refd) Ying Tai Plastic & Metal Manufacturing (S) Pte Ltd v Zahrin bin Rabu [1983-1984] SLR (R) 212; [1982-1983] SLR 117 (refd) Bankruptcy Act (Cap 20, 2009 Rev Ed) ss 2, 87 (1) , 87 (3) , 99 Bankruptcy Rules (Cap 20, R 1, 2006 Rev Ed) ......
  • Pang Chen Suan v Commissioner for Labour
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 28 May 2008
    ...dormant, the plaintiff cannot maintain his action in court. In … Ying Tai Plastic [& Metal Manfuacturing (S) Pte Ltd v Zahrin bin Rabu [1982-1983] SLR 117]…, the Court of Appeal said the ‘right to compensation under the Act lies dormant while he pursues his common law action’. It is the ‘ri......
  • Yang Dan v Xian De Lai Shanghai Cuisine Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 25 November 2010
    ...Act. [emphasis added] It is also helpful to bear in mind that in Ying Tai Plastic & Metal Manufacturing (S) Pte Ltd v Zahrin bin Rabu [1983-1984] SLR(R) 212 (“Ying Tai Plastic”), a Court of Appeal decision that I will consider later, s 33(1) and s 33(2) WCA were both comprised in s 33(1) of......
  • Goldring Timothy Nicholas v PP
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 25 April 2013
    ...211 (refd) R v Lushington, ex parte Otto [1894] 1 QB 420 (refd) Ying Tai Plastic & Metal Manufacturing (S) Pte Ltd v Zahrin bin Rabu [1983-1984] SLR (R) 212; [1982-1983] SLR 117 (refd) Zahrin bin Rabu v Ying Tai Plastic & Metal Manufacturing (S) Pte Ltd [1981-1982] SLR (R) 511; [1982-1983] ......
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