BY MELATI A. JALIL
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Malaysian ex-beauty queen Pauline Chai said today she can finally continue with her life after ending a four-year battle to end her marriage with billionaire husband Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng.
Chai, 70, was granted a decree absolute to formally end the proceedings in the United Kingdom, a year after a decree nisi was issued to dissolve her marriage to the chairman of international brand Laura Ashley, Khoo, 78.
“I feel a great sense of relief that I can now move on with my life after nearly four years,” she said, in a message relayed by her lawyer New Sin Yew.
The settlement amount will be decided by a UK High Court judge later this year.
Her lawyer, New, meanwhile said Malaysians proceedings should be academic following the UK court decision on the matter.
“Since decree absolute has been granted that means her marriage has ended. So the divorce proceedings in Malaysia should be redundant or academic,” he said.
The case drew international attention over both the possible sum of the settlement — up to half of Khoo’s estimated £440 million (RM2.4 billion) fortune — and the battle he and Chai fought to have the case heard in one of two jurisdictions.
Chai wanted the divorce to be decided in the UK, where she stood to receive 50 per cent of Khoo’s riches, while the latter tried to have the case heard in Malaysia where the Miss Malaysia 1969 would likely have won much less.
A UK court then decided that the case could proceed there, despite a Malaysian High Court ruling that the case should be heard in Malaysia.