This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on May 22, 2023 - May 28, 2023
TWO children of the late Lim Siew Kim — youngest daughter and third child of the late gaming mogul and founder of the Genting group of companies, Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong — are disputing her will, which was purportedly executed on April 28 last year, and are claiming that she died intestate.
Siew Kim passed away on July 14 last year, after battling ovarian cancer which she was diagnosed with in March 2020. In dispute are assets estimated to be worth in the region of RM1.6 billion, court documents seen by The Edge indicate.
According to the statement of claim, “It is not known why the deceased [Siew Kim] was made to execute/sign the impugned will on April 28, 2022 hastily, especially since she was not in the position to do so having regard to her deteriorated mental and physical condition.”
The plaintiffs — Siew Kim’s two daughters, Chan T’shiao Li and Kimberly Chan T’shiao Miin — also allege fraud in the execution of the will and are seeking a declaration that Siew Kim’s will, purportedly executed by her, is not the true and valid will; that the will is null and void and that she died intestate; and the two plaintiffs and their two siblings “are the true and rightful beneficiaries”.
As part of her treatment, Siew Kim is said to have been prescribed morphine, and the plaintiffs are alleging that her signature to the will was obtained secretly when she was under the influence of the drug, which disorientated and rendered her unable to understand or approve the contents of the will. Siew Kim is also said to have been coerced into signing the will, the plaintiffs claim.
According to the court documents, lawyer Datuk Low Beng Choo, who prepared the will and also acted as a witness in the signing of the will, was made a director of Dikim Foundation, a huge beneficiary of the will, in February this year.
The executors in their statement of defence state that, “This claim is frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of process. It is brought with ulterior intent and is an attempt to extract money from the deceased’s [Siew Kim’s] estate.”
The executors say that all legal formalities were complied with and that Siew Kim knew, and approved of, the contents of the will. They also state that Low had been asked on several occasions to become a director at Dikim Foundation and eventually relented and agreed to take the job, which does not offer any remuneration.
Low was neither paid for her services in drafting the will nor a beneficiary of the will, and provided the deceased with independent legal advice in respect of the will, the executors say.
To put things into perspective, other than T’shiao Li and Kimberly, Siew Kim had a son Marcus Chan Jau Chwen and another daughter Cressa Chan T’shiao Yunn. Judging by the court documents, T’shiao Li and Kimberly seem to have received far less from Siew Kim’s estate than their two siblings and Dikim Foundation.
Court documents have the two plaintiffs T’shiao Li and Kimberly questioning the validity of the will, which left 70% of the residuary estate to the Dikim Foundation, which Siew Kim and her late husband Dick Chan Teik Huat (co-founder of accounting firm Kassim Chan & Co, now known as Deloitte) set up in 1983.
Meanwhile, 30% of the residuary estate is slated to go to Siew Kim’s only son Marcus.
Dikim Foundation is also left with property in Pearl Hill, Tanjung Bungah, Penang, shareholding and property in Suria Waras Development Sdn Bhd. Other than 30% of the residuary estate, Marcus is also to get property in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, shareholding in Mantap Awana Sdn Bhd and the contents of safe deposit boxes in Public Bank Bhd.
In stark contrast, T’shiao Li was left with RM900,000 while Kimberly is to get RM100,000, and T’shiao Yunn is to receive RM10 million, property in Ampang Hilir, KL, and with her daughter Jasmine (Siew Kim’s granddaughter), is set to receive RM50,000 a month.
Siew Kim and her late husband Dick had founded Metroplex Bhd and Aktif Lifestyle Corp Bhd (both have since been delisted from Bursa Malaysia). Apart from owning several valuable parcels of land, they also controlled Wisma Equity and Wisma Central across from and adjacent to the Petronas Twin Towers.
Via Genton International Ltd, they held 51.08% of London-listed Anglo Eastern Plantations Ltd, which has a market capitalisation of £332.9 million (RM1.88 billion) and controls 63,000ha of plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, and palm oil mills.
There is also speculation that Siew Kim still had substantial stakes in stockbroking outfit Apex Equity Holdings. It has been reported that Fun Sheung Development Ltd and Yenson Investments Ltd, which had 15.78% and 5.18% equity interest respectively in Apex Equity, were controlled by Siew Kim.
Further, there is talk that some of the current shareholders of Apex Equity may have links to Siew Kim or are holding the shares for her, but this remains conjecture at press time. However, others who are familiar with Apex Equity say that her estate no longer has any significant or substantial stake in the stockbroking firm.
The court documents also mentioned Siew Kim’s legal action against her younger brother Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. To recap, in 2016, Siew Kim filed suit against Kien Huat Realty Sdn Bhd (the holding company of flagship Genting Bhd) and her brother Kok Thay, alleging that she was the beneficial owner of 796,250 shares in Genting, and Kien Huat Realty was holding the shares in trust for her.
Court documents back then indicated that she was seeking a declaration that Kien Huat Realty was holding 796,250 shares in Genting in trust for her, and that she was entitled to the benefits arising from the trust shares including dividends, rights issues and bonus shares, among others, given to Kien Huat Realty by Genting; and, as the registered holder of the shares, that the 796,250 shares be transferred to her within 14 days, failing which Kien Huat Realty and Kok Thay would be liable to pay her RM2.06 billion or such value assessed by the court.
The case is now in the Court of Appeal.
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