Does the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 (“SOCSO”) bar a claim for injury pursuant to a motor vehicle accident?
WAKIL DIRI KEPADA HARTA PUSAKA RADEN BENNI RS TANUWIDJAJA, SIMATI & ANOR V SRI MAHANUM YUP  1 LNS 822
- On 5 February 2015, an accident involving 2 motorjeeps occurred, resulting in the death of Mohd Yusof bin Sahak (“Deceased”) who was a passenger in one of the jeeps.
- The Deceased was in the employment of Korakan Corporation Sdn Bhd (“KCSB”) as were the drivers of both jeeps.
- The Deceased, through his widow, claimed against KCSB for the loss of support, bereavement and funeral expenses under section 7 of the Civil Law Act 1956.
- The Sessions Court found that KCSB was 100% liable against the Deceased and awarded damages accordingly to the widow of the Deceased.
- The Deceased’s claim for SOCSO was also allowed as the Sessions Court held that SOCSO does not prohibit the Deceased’s claim against KCSB.
- KCSB appealed to the High Court.
HIGH COURT DECISION – APPEAL ALLOWED!
The High Court allowed the appeal and held as follows:
- Section 31 of SOCSO provides that an employee [insured person] or his dependents shall not be entitled to receive or recover from the employer of the employee [insured person], any compensation or damages in respect of an employment injury sustained as an employee under the Act provided that the prohibition in this section shall not apply to any claims arising from motor vehicle accidents where the employer is required to be insured against third party risks under Part IV of the Road Transport Act 1987.
- What this means is, the prohibition in section 31 does not apply where the employer is required to be insured against third party motor vehicle risks, which is the compulsory motor insurance that should be taken under the Road Transport Act.
- Therefore, the general rule is if the employer is required to take out a motor vehicle insurance and the employer is covered under the insurance, then a claim by the injured employee against the employer is not barred by the SOCSO Act.
- In this instant appeal however, the Deceased died in an accident in the course of his employment with KCSB and KCSB is the “person insured” for both the jeeps, bringing it within section 91(1)(aa) of the Road Transport Act 1987, a non-compulsory motor insurance provision.
- What this means is that because the Deceased was travelling in the course of his employment with KCSB, he was not compulsorily covered by a motor insurance policy.
- Therefore, the High Court held that the proviso to section 31 of SOCSO was not applicable and as such the Dependents of the Deceased could not claim against KCSB.