Court dismisses estranged wife of Malaysian tycoon's application

Court dismisses estranged wife of Malaysian tycoon's application
Pauline Chai at Duta Court.

KUALA LUMPUR - The estranged wife of tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng, Pauline Chai Siew Phin (pic), failed to obtain a stay order against a High Court ruling that the Malaysian court has jurisdiction to hear their divorce petition.

Justice Yeoh Wee Siam dismissed Chai's application for a stay against the decision handed down on Nov 28 last year pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The judge, in her ruling, said bearing in mind that Khoo (the plaintiff) had succeeded in this action, he should be allowed to file the divorce petition without referring to the reconciliatory body.

She said the court considered his age, being 75, and pointed that in the interest of justice, the balance of hardship was weighed in his favour and he should be allowed to proceed unhindered with the petition.

"A stay will be substantially prejudiced to the plaintiff if he is not allowed to proceed in accordance with the court's order dated Nov 28. Thus, there is no good reason to stay this proceeding and await the outcome of the defendant's divorce petition in England. The defendant's application is now dismissed and a cost of RM4,000 (S$1,492) is to be paid by Chai (defendant) to Khoo," she said.

Justice Yeoh said she had considered all issues and had addressed all the issue in the Nov 28 judgement, adding that the merits of an appeal did not constitute special circumstances that justify a stay.

She said the respective divorce petitions were between two private individuals in two different jurisdictions and nothing more.

"Even if a stay is not allowed here, it does not mean that it would scuttle the proceedings in the English high court or cause any confusion between the two jurisdictions," she added.

On Nov 28 last year, Khoo succeeded in establishing his case for the Malaysian court to hear his divorce proceedings against Chai.

In delivering her judgement, Justice Yeoh ruled that her findings confirmed that Khoo was Malaysian and that he lived in the country.

Under Malaysian laws, she said the wife's domicile was dependent on her husband's.

The couple married in 1970 and have five grown-up children.

Counsel Andrew Yong and New Sin Yew acted for Chai while Romesh Abraham appeared for Khoo.

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