KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Court yesterday unanimously allowed leave to two daughters of the late Malacca tycoon Gan Puay Chee to appeal against a court ruling which validated his will to leave RM1mil of his almost RM300mil estate to them.
Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Haidar Mohd Noor, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Steve Shim and Federal Court judge Justice Siti Norma Yaakob ordered a stay of the Court of Appeal’s judgment and its subsequent orders.
A notice of appeal is required to be filed within 14 days from yesterday.
The three-person Bench also further allowed the present Administrator of the deceased’s estate, Andrew Goh Tyau Soon, to continue to act and take steps to protect Gan’s assets pending the appeal without the power to distribute, deal or part with it.
They further allowed 29 questions of law to be put to them by Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, counsel for Gan’s daughters Yoke Chin and Yook Hwa.
Gan, who died on May 1, 1997, had left in his will dated April 16, 1997 a mere RM1mil to be shared equally by his two daughters Yoke Chin, 61, and Yook Hwa, 58.
The remainder of between RM200mil and RM300mil was to be divided 40%, 40% and 20% among his natural sons Kim Toon and Kim Guan, and adopted son Yan Khern respectively.
Gan’s daughters first entered a caveat on the estate in May 1997, days after the will was read out to the family.
Yoke Chin and Yook Hwa, in a suit filed on Sept 29, 1997, named their brothers Kim Toon, Kim Guan, Yan Khern, trustee and executor Lee Ing Chin@ Lee Teck Seng and Gan’s caretaker Lee Kim Teng@ Lee Chin Chong as defendants.
The sisters challenged the validity of the will and asked the court to grant them letters of administration of their late father’s estate. They also asked that 400,000 units of Malayan Banking Bhd shares, valued at about RM25mil, be included in the estate.
On Feb 5, 2001, the Malacca High Court ruled that the estate would include the 400,000 units of shares which would be equally distributed to the beneficiaries as the purported last will made was forged.
Dissatisfied, the defendants appealed.
On Feb 11, Court of Appeal judges Justice Gopal Sri Ram, Saari Mohd Yusoff and Alaudin Mohd Sheriff set aside the decision of the then judicial commissioner of the Malacca High Court Abdul Hamid Said and held that there was not a shred of evidence to show Gan lacked the mental capacity to make the will.