KUALA LUMPUR: Former Miss Malaysia Pauline Chai told a High Court hearing the divorce petition of tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng that she has only one friend in Malaysia and has no interest in the country.
"I left Malaysia 34 years ago in 1980 and have not lived here since. I moved in 1980 to live in Perth, Australia with the whole family. Our youngest two children were born in Australia and I obtained Australian citizenship.
"I moved in 1989 to live in Victoria, Canada with the whole family where we stayed for 20 years. During this time, (I) established my Canadian domicile and citizenship," she told Judge Yeoh Wee Siam.
Chai, 67, Miss Malaysia/International 1969, was testifying in an application for dispensation of the need to go before a reconciliatory body before divorce and to determine a preliminary issue of whether a Malaysian court has the jurisdiction to hear her divorce petition.
To a question by Khoo's lawyer, Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, during cross-examination, she said that in 2010, she spent 40 per cent of her time in Malaysia and the rest in Canada.
In a witness statement tendered in court today, Chai denied that Malaysia was the matrimonial home at any time after they left the country as a family in 1980 and set up home in Australia, then Canada and in England.
"Our children have not spent any meaningful time in Malaysia since we left the country in 1980 and made Australia our home. Since leaving Malaysia, we rarely returned to Malaysia from Australia or Canada as we were very settled.
"When we did travel, the children and I would be keen to go and see parts of the world that we hadn't already seen, such as Vancouver in Canada, Scotland and the United States. We had no interest in returning to Malaysia," she added.
Earlier, Chai said Khoo had made all decisions in the family, such as deciding her and their children's move to Australia in 1980 and subsequently, to Canada in 1989.
"He controls the family. When it comes to him, most of us submit to him. You can say our minds are put aside for that moment to carry out his instructions," she said.
In February last year, she filed a divorce petition in a London court, seeking a £500mil (RM2.75bil) settlement.
Khoo 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 in Malaysia, compared with an entitlement to half his fortune if the matter were to be heard in Britain.
A judge at London's High Court ruled last month that it could hear the divorce case.
Khoo, chairman of international investment holdings company, Malayan United Industries Bhd and major shareholder of Laura Ashley, currently residing in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, filed the divorce petition in the Malaysian court.
The couple married in 1970 and has five children. - Bernama