RM300 mil wakaf land belongs to our family, tycoon’s heir tells court

Abdul Shukor PA Mohd Sultan, great-grandson of the late real estate tycoon, Shaik Eusoff Shaik Latiff.

GEORGE TOWN: A heir of a Penang real estate tycoon in the 1800s told the Shariah High Court their family estate in Air Itam worth RM300 million today should be returned to the family by the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) as it was rightfully willed to them.

Former two-term senator Abdul Shukor PA Mohd Sultan, 70, said his late great-grandfather, Shaik Eusoff Shaik Latiff, had only willed to give up two plots of land in Air Itam for a limited period of time for wakaf purposes.

He said as per Shaik Eusoff’s will, his 6ha land on Jalan Thean Teik would be given up for Muslim endowment for 21 years from the death of his last child.

Shukor told the court that the last of Shaik Eusoff’s seven children – a daughter – had died in 1932, so the land was supposed to be returned to the family estate in 1953.

He said this was clearly stated in Shaik Eusoff’s 10-page will written in English dated Dec 30, 1892, and was irrefutable.

Shukor said this during examination-in-chief by his lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, who was assisted by Yuslinov Ahmad.

Later, Akberdin tendered 60 exhibits to prove the heir’s claims, including a witness statement running into more than 600 pages, to Shariah High Court judge Mohd Yunus Mohamad Zin.

The suit against MAINPP is initiated by Shukor and another two of Shaik Eusoff’s great-grandchildren — Syed Idross Syed Hassan Al Mashoor and Sheik Mohd Jelani Sheik Emam.

They had previously applied to MAINPP to obtain the land but failed to do so.

Shaik Eusoff, who was a Jawi Peranakan with roots in Gujarat, India, was a well-known real estate magnate who is said to have owned large tracts of land in George Town in the early 19th century.

His descendants are also credited with bringing the boria – Penang’s traditional “parody theatre” – to the state.

MAINPP was represented by Zainul Rijal.

The 10-day trial is spread out on separate dates until December. The hearing continues tomorrow.