By V. Anbalagan | The Edge Markets
Tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng, who is involved in an intense divorce battle with his former beauty queen wife, told the High Court that their matrimonial home had always been in Malaysia.
“I have never changed my place of residence. It has always been in Malaysia,” he told counsel Datuk Dr Cyrus Das during re-examination yesterday.
He said his wife, Puan Sri Pauline Chai Siew Phin, and children always returned to Malaysia although they were overseas most of the time.
“They will return home during holidays,” he said.
Judge Yeoh Wee Siam is hearing the case to determine a preliminary issue of whether a Malaysian court had the jurisdiction to hear Khoo’s divorce petition.
Khoo’s lawyers are taking the stand that the domicile of Chai followed her husband’s, which is in Malaysia.
However, Chai’s lawyers, led by Edmund Bon, are saying that a wife could now acquire her domicile independently.
The reason is Malaysia had amended the Federal Constitution to give women equal rights, and the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 must conform with the supreme law of the land.
On Oct 18, a London court had decided that it had the jurisdiction to hear the divorce petition filed by Chai there in February last year.
To prove that she mainly lives in England, Chai, 67, had pointed out that she had more than 1,000 pairs of shoes kept at the couple’s luxurious £30 million (RM158 million) Hertfordshire home.
Khoo, who is Laura Ashley non-executive chairman, said that his family, including the couple’s five children, did not live in England.
“As a complete family we live in Kuala Lumpur, which is the real home, not the United Kingdom or Australia,” he said.
However, Khoo, 75, said he had properties overseas under his name or companies owned by him.
He said Chai decided to remain in England during their visit in October 2012 because she was sick.
“She told me a big lie but stayed behind to discuss with her lawyers. Her behaviour and demeanour changed,” he said.
Khoo said reconciliation with Chai was remote as “too much water had flowed under the bridge”.
“We have tried to reconcile many times with the help of church leaders and friends but to no avail,” he said.
He described Chai as a difficult woman because she “yelled and shouted at very small things”.
“She did not talk to resolve issues,” he said. He said it was near impossible for them to patch up.
Chai was due to take the stand yesterday afternoon.