KUALA LUMPUR: The trial of a suit brought by the widow of former Cabinet member Jamaluddin Jarjis to obtain her share of RM1 billion in jointly acquired matrimonial assets failed to take off as a copy of her witness statement was only given to the defence this morning.
Shariah High Court judge Hasnita Hamidon then fixed April 7 for Kalsom Ismail to give her evidence.
Kalsom, a former dentist, had in early 2018 filed the suit to get 50% of Jamaluddin’s moveable and immovable properties acquired here and overseas valued at RM2.1 billion from the deceased’s estate.
However, the defendant, Jamaluddin’s mother Aminah Abdullah, had objected as most of the assets were accumulated before her son married Kalsom.
Aminah also claimed that her son had solely acquired the properties without any contribution from her daughter-in-law.
In 2017, Jamaluddin’s children – Nur Anis and Ikhwan Hafiz – were appointed administrators of the deceased’s estate to distribute the properties in accordance with Islamic law.
Under shariah law, the mother gets one-sixth of the estate’s assets, the wife gets one-eighth and the remainder is shared among the children.
Should Kalsom succeed in her suit, she will be entitled to 50% and another one-eighth under hukum faraid.
Today, syarie lawyer Nur Hidayah A Bakar, who appeared for Aminah, told reporters that Kalsom’s witness statement and other documents were only given to them just before the proceeding started.
“The statement should have been given to us at least a week before the case was scheduled to start,” she said.
Reporters were barred from covering the case due to the Covid-19 SOPs that had been imposed.
Hidayah said Kalsom could not testify as the defence needed time to verify the contents of her witness statement and other exhibits.
Kalsom, who was represented by Sulaiman Abdullah, then sought an adjournment for the defence to go through the documents.
Hidayah said she asked for RM100,000 in costs should the trial be postponed to another date.
“However, the judge ordered no costs and went on to fix April 7 as the new trial date with no further adjournment,” Hidayah said, adding that she told the judge the plaintiff was attempting to delay the case.
She said Aminah was 87 years old and wanted the matter concluded as soon as possible.
Sulaiman, when approached by reporters, said Kalsom was prepared to give evidence but the defence lawyers needed to take instruction from their client.
“Our case will take long. We have yet to decide how many witnesses to call apart from Kalsom,” he said.
Sulaiman said there was the issue of whether local or foreign laws were applicable on the overseas properties and there were also tax-related matters that had to be determined.
“There are many lawyers involved due to pending suits in the civil court,” he said, adding that the administrators also wanted to distribute the assets as soon as possible.
Mediation over assets left by Jamaluddin, who once also served as Malaysian ambassador to the United States, failed in 2019.
Jamaluddin was killed on April 4, 2015, when the helicopter he was travelling in from Pekan, Pahang, en route to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Kampung Sungai Pening, Semenyih, Selangor.
Also killed in the crash were the pilot Captain Clifford William Fournier; former prime minister Najib Razak’s private secretary Azlin Alias; businessman Tan Huat Seang, Jamaluddin’s personal aide Razakan Seran, and a woman identified as Aidana Baizieva.
Jamaluddin was an Umno Supreme Council member and the Rompin MP from 1990 until his death.
Last August, the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted a declaration to Aminah that three million shares worth RM1.044 billion in Rantai Wawasan Sdn Bhd are part of her son’s estate, and that she is entitled as a beneficiary to the estate.
“A trust deed, created in 2009, made the deceased (Jamaluddin) the legal, beneficial and ultimate owner of Rantai Wawasan’s shares.
“Once the owner passes away, the shares must go to the estate.”