Malaysian tycoon Khoo tells court his marriage is over

KUALA LUMPUR - Tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng testified in a High Court here that his marriage with former beauty queen, Pauline Chai Siew Phin, was over.

"The marriage is over even though I do not want it to be over.

"If in the middle of the night she takes a knife and stabs me, I wouldn't know," Khoo said when testifying in the hearing of his application for dispensation of the need to go before a reconciliation body for reconciliation before divorce under Section 106 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act.

He added that after the divorce proceeding started, Chai said a lot of things that were not true about their marriage.

Khoo said he tried to reconcile many times through religious groups and friends to save his marriage but they were futile.

He was replying to a question du­­ring cross-examination by counsel Edmund Bon, who asked him whe­ther he attempted to reconcile and tried his very best through intermediaries to save his 43-year marriage with the former Miss Malaysia/International 1969.

The hearing will decide the jurisdiction of his billion-ringgit divorce dispute with his wife which has captivated the media in Britain and here with stories of her 1,000 pairs of shoes and £22,000 (S$45,367) monthly budget for a Rolls Royce and chauffeur.

Khoo, 75, was accompanied by his bodyguards.

Also seen in court was his daughter Angeline Francis who came with her friends.

However, Chai, 67, was not present in yesterday's proceeding before High Court judge Justice Yeoh Wee Siam.

On the dual citizenship issue raised by Bon, Khoo said Chai had two citizenships, which were Australian and Canadian citizenships.

Later, Bon questioned whether Khoo agreed or not that Chai move her base because of her children, he said: "Yes I agree."

In his affidavit-in-support which was tendered in court, Khoo stated that he married Chai in a church at Ipoh, Perak, and they were blessed with five children who were all over 18 years old by now.

He said he intended to petition the court for dissolution of their marriage on the grounds that their marriage had irretrievably broken down.

On April 22, the Court of Appeal remitted the case back to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur for a fresh trial to be conducted 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 also ruled that Khoo could file his divorce petition in Malaysia.

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

In February last year, she filed the divorce petition in a London court, seeking a £500mil (RM2.75bil) settlement.

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

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

In a turn of event, a judge at London's High Court ruled last month that it could hear the divorce case.

The hearing here continues today.

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