RM2.15m fine for con­tempt of court

> 20 Kian Joo share­hold­ers, lawyer apol­o­gise for say­ing judge­ment ‘pla­gia­rised’


PUTRAJAYA: The ma­jor­ity and mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers of a com­pany and their lawyer were fined a to­tal of RM2.15 mil­lion, which is be­lieved to be one of the high­est amounts, for con­tempt of court by the Fed­eral Court.

A to­tal of 20 share­hold­ers and a lawyer, S. Thisi­nayagam, who rep­re­sented the mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers in a re­view filed at the Fed­eral Court in 2012, had al­leged “pla­gia­rism” in a writ­ten judg­ment of a Fed­eral Court panel which heard their case.

Yes­ter­day, the 12 ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers and eight mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers of Kian Joo Hold­ings Sdn Bhd (KJH), along with the lawyer, of­fered their apol­ogy and con­ceded to con­tempt.

The panel of Fed­eral Court judges, led by Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, found them guilty of con­tempt and im­posed a RM100,000 fine, in de­fault eight months’ jail, on each of the share­hold­ers and a RM150,000 fine, in de­fault one year’s jail, on the lawyer.

They were given 24 hours to pay the fine af­ter their lawyers asked for an ex­ten­sion of time.

“It is un­de­ni­able that the al­le­ga­tion against the court is very se­ri­ous and has be­smirched the good name of the ju­di­ciary,” Suriyadi said.

Suriyadi sat to­gether with Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Aza­har Mo­hamed and Datuk Balia Yu­sof Wahi.

Ear­lier, lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, rep­re­sent­ing the ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers, ten­dered an “un­con­di­tional, un­qual­i­fied and un­re­served apol­ogy” to the court.

He said his client (for­mer group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Datuk See Teow Chuan) was ad­vised by his then coun­sel that there is merit in their ap­pli­ca­tion.

“I urge the court to show mercy and com­pas­sion to all the ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers by cau­tion­ing and dis­charg­ing them,” said Hisyam.

Lawyer T. Gu­nasee­lan, who rep­re­sented Thisi­nayagam, said his client had acted in er­ror.

“It was a gen­uine mis­take,” he said, adding that the word “pla­gia­rism” was not used in his ap­pli­ca­tion.

In 2009, the ma­jor­ity and mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers of Kian Joo had filed a re­view of a pre­vi­ous de­ci­sion in re­la­tion to the sale of stakes in their com­pany.

In their re­view ap­pli­ca­tion, they had con­tended “pla­gia­rism” in a writ­ten judge­ment but the Fed­eral Court dis­missed the ap­pli­ca­tion on May 22, 2013.

For­mer lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam is also a re­spon­dent for con­tempt of court pro­ceed­ings.

His lawyer, R. Thay­alan, said Lingam is un­well and cur­rently in the United States.

Af­ter pro­ceed­ings, se­nior fed­eral coun­sel Alice Loke said she would be writ­ing to the court to seek for a case man­age­ment date for Lingam and three other mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers who were not present yes­ter­day as they were un­well.

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