Malaysian court can hear tycoon’s divorce case against former beauty queen

Malaysian court can hear tycoon’s divorce case against former beauty queen

KUALA LUMPUR - Tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng has succeeded in establishing his case for the Malaysian court to hear his divorce proceedings against Pauline Chai Siew Phin.

In allowing Khoo's application, High Court judge Justice Yeoh Wee Siam said under the common law, the wife's domicile must follow the husband's domicile even if the wife was no longer a Malaysian citizen.

In addition, Justice Yeoh ordered RM15,000 (S$5825.7) in costs.

"Accordingly, I rule that that the wife's domicile is in Malaysia. Therefore, the Malaysian court has jurisdiction to hear the case," she said, when delivering her judgment on Friday.

Khoo, 75, filed his application for dispensation of the need to go before a reconciliation body before divorce under Section 106 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act.

 

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

On April 22, the Court of Appeal remitted the case back to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur for a fresh trial to determine jurisdiction and domicile issues after ruling that there were too many disputed facts.

The Court of Appeal had set aside the High Court's Dec 11, 2013, decision, which did not require Khoo to meet a conciliatory body in London, and ruled that Khoo could file his divorce petition in Malaysia.

Chai, 68, wanted the British court to decide on the divorce proceedings as she claimed she was no longer do­­miciled in Malaysia since 1980, and currently lives in Britain.

In February last year, the former Miss Malaysia/International 1969, filed the divorce petition in a London court, seeking a £500mil (S$1022.90 bil) settlement.

Khoo, who is the chairman of international investment holdings company Malayan United Industries Bhd, currently resides in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, and had filed the divorce petition in a Malaysian court.

It was reported that Chai would get a smaller portion in matrimonial properties if the case was decided according to Malaysian law, compared with an entitlement to half his fortune if it was heard in Britain.

A judge at London's High Court ruled last month that it could hear the divorce proceedings.

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