GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) has paid over RM106,000 in damages and costs to its former executive director, M Ramachandran, in accordance with an order issued by the Penang High Court on Dec 20 last year.
The board chairman, RSN Rayer, appeared before High Court judge Anand Ponnudurai today to submit a cheque for the full and final settlement.
Ramachandran, who was not present in court today, was represented by his lawyer P Subramaniam. His request for PHEB to bear the costs of today’s proceedings was rejected by the judge.
Speaking to FMT after the conclusion of the hearing, Rayer said the board could have used the sum to fund scholarships for needy Hindu school students.
“For the past year, since we took office, we (PHEB) have spent approximately RM350,000 for almost 350 students.
“Therefore RM100,000 is a huge sum of money. Imagine if we could give RM1,000 to every Hindu student, we would be able to assist so many of them,” he said, adding that the money came from public donations to the board, not its own money.
Rayer said he hoped Ramachandran would be able to use the sum for charitable purposes.
When asked why the board had not filed an appeal, Rayer said this was “out of sympathy” for the circumstances in which Ramachandran was removed from the executive director’s position.
“When I was the commissioner of PHEB, Ramachandran was aware that I had raised my reservations and objections during the board meetings as I did not want him to be wrongfully dismissed.
“(Plus), we did not want to challenge the matter in court as the present PHEB (leadership) felt that we should resolve the matter amicably.”
Ramachandran, whom the High Court found was unfairly dismissed as the board’s executive director, obtained a court order to compel the board to pay him RM106,755 in damages and costs. This came after PHEB ignored an Aug 8 order by the court to pay the judgment sum.
High Court senior assistant registrar M Yegeshweriy, in the ex-parte order, asked PHEB to explain why it had yet to pay up and to show its full accounts – including a list of debtors and a list of assets – to see if the board could settle the damages awarded.