KUALA LUMPUR - Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud's former daughter-in-law has been awarded RM30mil (S$10.5 million) in mutaah claim by the Syariah High Court here.
Syarie judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab delivered his verdict in the presence of Shahnaz A. Majid and her former husband Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, both 53.
Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim said although the RM100mil mutaah (conciliatory gift) claim filed by Shahnaz was unreasonable, he has taken into account that Mahmud's credit cards' monthly expenses was nearly RM1mil and that he has more than RM1bil in assets as was revealed during trial.
"Based on this consideration, I grant the plaintiff RM30mil in mutaah claim. The court views that the amount is reasonable and the defendant is able to pay the amount.
"The amount is to be paid in three instalments, with the first of RM10mil to be paid by March 31, another RM10mil by June 30 and the last amount by Sept 30," he said yesterday.
The couple were married on Jan 9, 1992, and confirmed divorced on May 11, 2011.
Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim said Shahnaz had played an important role in developing her former husband's company.
"Mahmud left her in 1999 and he had abandoned her for 10 years. This cannot be taken lightly and cannot be forgiven.
"The defendant testified that he had given his former wife a house and three cars but these assets are not considered as mutaah but only a gift," he said.
When met by the media, Shahnaz said that she was happy with the verdict and thanked her Syarie lawyers Dr Rafie Mohd Shafie and Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and her family for their support throughout the trial.
"This case is not about taking money from the defendant but it is my rightful claim," she said.
Mahmud's Syarie lawyer Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said that his client was disappointed with the decision and had instructed that an appeal be filed to the Syariah Court of Appeal today.
"We will also apply for a stay order on the three staggered payments ruled by the court," he said.
Other than the RM100mil mutaah claim, Shahnaz had filed an application to get RM300mil in matrimonial property as divorce settlement and 50 per cent of all assets owned by Mahmud.
These included luxury cars, houses in various locations, land in Sarawak and shares in several companies. The couple have a son Raden Murya who was born on Dec 11, 1993.