Family of scouting pioneer takes feud over assets to court

Madam Yvonne Goh Mei Ling (right, in yellow) and younger sister Yvette, leaving the court. They are in a legal dispute with their mother over a flat.

A 91-year-old mother versus her two daughters, and sisters against their brother.

Less than two months after the death of Mr Dennis Goh Chin Chye, a respected Anglo-Chinese School physical education teacher for 38 years and a pioneer of the scouts movement here, his family's squabbles have been laid bare.

Mr Goh, who worked tirelessly to revive scouting here after World War II, died of heart failure on March 5, at age 94.

A five-day trial is scheduled to start in the High Court today, in which Mr Goh's widow, Madam Eileen Chia Yoke Mui, will try to show that she was deceived by her daughters into giving them equal shares of her Clementi HDB flat.

On May 20, there will be another trial at the Family Court where Madam Chia's elder daughter Yvonne Goh Mei Ling, 62, is seeking a protection order against one of her brothers.

Court documents filed for the row over the flat stated that Madam Yvonne Goh and her sister Yvette Goh Meich'ang, 52, live in England, and had visited their parents here in the last quarter of 2009. They stayed with them at their five-room flat, which was bought in 1992.

In December 2009, the parents applied to make the sisters joint tenants, and that was effected on April 13, 2010.

Now Madam Chia claims that her two daughters had repeatedly harassed and badgered her and her late husband into making the change. She accuses her two children of taking advantage of their old age, and putting them under intense stress to share the flat.

She also claims of being misled into thinking that even as joint tenants, her daughters would have no rights to restrict her from selling her property.

In their defence filed with the High Court, the sisters denied their mother's version. They claimed that it was their father's idea to have their names added to the tenancy as a gift, and their mother had agreed. Their parents had wanted to be sure that in case anything happened to them, their daughters would be entitled to shares in the property.

The sisters also said that while they did go to the HDB office together to submit the application, they returned to England shortly after.

That left their parents to follow up on the application on their own. The sisters claim that their parents were informed by an HDB officer about the implications of transferring ownership of their flat. Their parents also had every opportunity to change their minds, as the application took three months to complete.

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