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.