KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ruled that Cheong Mei Kuen, the wife of late banker Hussain Ahmad Najadi, is not entitled to his estate.
Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera held that Cheong was not a person recognised in law as being entitled to the grant of letter of administration to the estate of the deceased.
“On the evidence before me, there is only one person beneficially entitled to the estate of the deceased and that is the applicant
(the late banker’s only son Pascal Ahmad Najadi),” he said.
Pascal, 46, who was represented by Dharmesh Penesar, had stated that the Syariah High Court had confirmed the fact of him being the sole beneficiary by the issuance of a “Sijil Faraid (inheritance and distribution certificate)” to him over his late father’s assets.
Pascal, who is chairman and CEO of merchant finance advisory firm Najadi & Partners Sdn Bhd, inherited RM1.82mil in cash and shares from his father under the Faraid law.
Cheong, 49, who was injured during a shooting incident last year, had filed a caveat against the issuance of any letters of administration for the late Hussain’s estate on grounds that she was a person interested in the estate.
Cheong, who was represented by Joshua Kevin, claimed that she was lawfully married to Hussain in Australia under a civil marriage in accordance with Australian law.
She said the marriage is recognised as valid under Section 104 of the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce Act) 1976.
Pascal said the marriage registered in Australia is not recognised under Malaysian law as the deceased was a Muslim.
Hussain Ahmad, 75, was shot at a parking lot while leaving the Kuan Yin Temple in Lorong Ceylon last July 29. He died at the scene.
Vazeer Alam said the court would have to take cognizance of the Sijil Faraid that has been issued by the Syariah High Court.
“The applicant’s position is that the caveator (Cheong) is a non-Muslim and as such is not a beneficiary to the estate of the deceased.
“The caveator has never challenged this assertion nor did she show proof that she is a Muslim.
“It is trite that under the law, a non-Muslim is not recognised as a beneficiary to an intestate (a person who has died without having made a will) Muslim’s estate,” he said in allowing Pascal’s application seeking for letter of administration to be issued over his late father’s estate.
He found that the Law Reform Act was not applicable to determine the validity of spousal relationship between Hussain and Cheong, as the deceased was a Muslim.
“The deceased, according to the death certificate was at the time of death an Iranian national and a permanent resident in Malaysia professing the religion of Islam.
“Therefore, validity of that marriage would have to be determined under the provisions of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 and not the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce Act) 1976,” he added.