By Khairah N. Karim | New Straits Times

Tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng told the High Court here today that his marriage with his estranged wife, former beauty queen Pauline Chai is over.

“Our marriage is over, although I don’t want it to be over,” Khoo said.

He was testifying at the hearing on his appeal for dispensation of the need to go before a conciliatory body for reconciliation before divorce under section 106 of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

The hearing will decide the jurisdiction of his billion-ringgit divorce dispute with 67-year old former Miss Malaysia 1969.

Khoo, who is chairman of international fashion brand Laura Ashley also told the court during cross-examination by Chai’s counsel that his wife could take a knife and stab him at night and he wouldn’t know.

Edmund Bon who represented Chai had asked Khoo if he would save the marriage if the court ordered a reconciliation process.

“I don’t want to risk my life,” he answered.

“After the divorce proceedings she said a lot of things that is not true about me,” he added.

The retail and hotel magnate said that he tried to reconcile many times through religious groups and friends to save his marriage but his attempts proved futile.

In his affidavit tendered in court, Khoo stated that he intend to petition for a dissolution of the marriage on grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken down.

On Oct 17, Chai had successfully argued for the case to heard in a British court as she claimed she had not been a Malaysian citizen for 30 years.

However, Khoo applied for the case to be heard in Malaysia saying that he is an official resident and they were married here.

On Feb 14 last year, Chai filed the divorce petition in a London court, on grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

She is seeking a 500 million pounds in (approximately RM2.75 billion) settlement.

However, Khoo filed his divorce petition at a High Court here, last December and argued for the case to be heard here.

The High Court verdict, on Dec 11 last year, ruled in Khoo’s favour.

The couple were married in 1970 and have five children.

The hearing continues today (Tuesday) before High Court judge Yeoh Wee Siam.