KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): Aminah Abdullah, the mother of the late former minister Tan Sri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis, on Monday (April 18) failed to recuse a judicial commissioner from presiding in her suit against her two grandchildren, a law firm, and her son's lawyers for purported fraud.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin dismissed the recusal application, saying the three reasons cited by the 87-year-old for the recusal had no basis. Mohd Arief also ordered Aminah to pay RM15,000 to each of the defendants.
Aminah filed the suit in May last year against her grandchildren — Ikhwan Hafiz Jamaludin and Nur Anis Jamaludin — along with law firm Messrs Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina, lawyer Liza Chan Sow Keng of Liza Chan & Co, and Commissioner for Oaths Tengku Fariddudin Tengku Sulaiman as third, fourth and fifth defendants, respectively, for purportedly defrauding her in the administration of her late son's assets.
In her application to recuse Mohd Arief, Aminah said both Mohd Arief and Chan were judicial commissioners and that they were both Inns of Court Malaysia society committee members. She also cited the potential of calling former chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who is Mohd Arief's father, to testify in the case, as a reason to recuse Mohd Arief.
Judicial commissioners are unconfirmed High Court judges who preside over court cases and as such they do not have security of tenure until they are confirmed.
It is understood that Mohd Arief ruled that all three issues Aminah cited had no basis to require him to recuse himself from presiding over the case as the issue of calling Arifin remained uncertain. Sources confirmed the outcome of the Monday afternoon hearing.
With Monday's decision, the court will on Wednesday (April 20) fix a date to hear the striking out application by the defendants.
In the suit, Aminah claimed the defendants allegedly collaborated to engage in fraud, fabrication, fraudulent concealment, misconduct and/or breaches of law to deprive her right, as a beneficiary of Jamaludin's estates, to a fair and proper administration of the inheritance.
Aminah wants to remove both Nur Anis and Ikhwan Hafiz as administrators of Jamaludin's estates given sufficient cause, and for fraud. The sufficient cause she cited in the suit includes an allegedly wilful delay in distributing the estates, wrongful attempt to deprive the plaintiff of her entitlements, as well as their misconduct in seeking the plaintiff's renunciation.
Chan and Tengku Fariddudin, meanwhile, were said to have fraudulently colluded to unlawfully certify and fabricate the impugned letter of renunciation's sworn status.
The letter, according to Aminah's statement of claim, was initiated by her two grandchildren to be executed, asserting that it was necessary for purposes of carrying out administration according to the Islamic law of inheritance (faraid).
However, Aminah claimed the contents and consequences of the letter were not fully explained to her, and that the "sijil faraid" had in fact already been obtained.
Hence, she contended that she ought to be appointed administrator of Jamaludin's assets to ensure the due and proper accounting and distribution in accordance with law, as well so that her grandchildren may no longer hold distribution at bay or abuse court processes to do so.
As such, Aminah wants an order from the court for general damages from all the defendants, and an order for exemplary damages from the third to fifth defendants, among others.
Besides this suit against the five defendants, she has filed another suit against the two grandchildren to recover and claim RM21 million in cash kept by Jamaludin in various banks.
Jamaludin, a former science, technology and innovation minister, as well as a former second finance minister, was killed in a helicopter crash with several others in April 2015.