PUTRAJAYA, Jan 13 — The wife and two daughters of the late Tan Sri Syed Kechik Syed Mohamed Al-Bukhary failed in their appeal today to stop his (Syed Kechik’s) son from his first marriage to be joint administrator of his RM400 million estate.
Justice Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing, leading a three-man Court of Appeal panel, ruled that the High Court had correctly given due regard to Syed Gamal’s right to be co-administrator of his father’s estate.
He said it was the court’s view that the acrimony between Syed Gamal and his stepmother Puan Sri Sofiah Moo Abdullah, 67, and his half-sisters Puan Sri Sharifah Zarah, 42, and Sharifah Munira, 44, was not a good ground to exclude Syed Gamal from being co-administrator of his father’s estate.
Low said allegations made by Sofiah and her daughters that Syed Gamal lacked knowledge of the father’s business, that he (Syed Gamal) was a failed businessman in a T-shirt business and the subsequent sale of a Mercedes car by Syed Gamal were not valid grounds to remove his (Syed Gamal’s) right to be considered for appointment as co-administrator.
“Success and failure in life, business or any other activity is purely a matter of subjective judgment. Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts,” he said.
The panel, which also comprised Court of Appeal judge Datuk Wira Abu Samah Nordin and High Court judge Datuk Azahar Mohamed, unanimously dismissed the appeal brought by Sofiah and her two daughters and upheld Judicial Commissioner Lee Swee Seng’s decision given on July 30 last year that the late Syed Kechik’s estate be jointly administered by his wife and three children.
“In our view, section 30 of the Probate and Administration Act 1959 provides for the entitlement of all persons who are interested in the estate to be appointed administrators of deceased’s estate.
“We are unable to identify any error on the part of the Judicial Commissioner in appointing all appellants (Sofiah, Sharifah Zarah and Sharifah Munira) and respondent (Syed Gamal) as co-administrators of the deceased’s estate,” Low said.
The panel ordered Sofiah and her daughters to pay legal costs of RM40,000 to Syed Gamal.
Syed Gamal, 46, a cyber-cafe owner, is Syed Kechik’s only son from his first marriage to Zainab alias Eshah Abdullah.
The feud over the estate began after Syed Kechik died of heart disease on April 10, 2009 at the age of 80 without leaving a will.
Syed Kechik was the father-in-law of Al-Bukhary Foundation chairman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, a billionaire listed as one of the richest people in the country.
On September 15, 2009, Sofiah and her daughters petitioned the court for a letter of administration to the estate. On April 14 last year, Syed Gamal filed a caveat to stop his stepmother and half-sisters from being appointed sole administrators of his late father’s estate. — Bernama