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SG Court throws out widow's HDB claim

Property Here - Monday, October 21, 2013

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Singapore’s High Court has rejected a plea to reverse the part transfer of a HDB flat to the two daughters of late scout pioneer Dennis Goh Chin Chye and his widow, Madam Eileen Chia Yoke Mui.

In dismissing the case, Justice Quentin Loh disagreed with the testimony of 92-year-old Madam Chia that her husband had only been “joking” when he suggested adding their daughters, Yvonne Goh Mei Ling, 63, and Yvette Goh Meich'ang, 53, to the tenancy.

The judge highlighted that Mr Goh was an “intelligent and educated person” who appears to be “firm in his own views and in doing what he wanted”. 

Moreover, Madam Chia’s claim that they were badgered into making the changes was also thrown out by the judge, who believes the couple were aware of what they were doing when they signed the application form on 31 December 2009. 

In fact, the judge found that the sisters, who live in England, were not in Singapore when the couple signed a transfer document on 12 March the following year.

He also disagreed with the claim made by Madam Chia’s lawyers that she was not aware that signing the document would limit her ability to sell the flat.  

The judge also found that there was no suggestion the sisters would refuse to sell the property if the need arose or if it was in the interest of their mother.  

“This is a dreadful family dispute that should not have reached the courts for resolution...I have more than a strong suspicion that... the defendants' siblings were the main driving forces behind this litigation” as they were “the only persons who stood to gain from this action”, the judge said.

He noted that both Eric Goh Wai Mun, 69, and Evan Goh Wyming, 65, continue to manage the finances of Madam Chia. They had depended on their parents for financial aid.  

The four siblings would have equally shared the S$700,000 five-room flat in Clementi had Madam Chia succeeded in removing her daughters from the tenancy. But the flat, acquired in 1992 by the couple, will ultimately go to Yvette and Yvonne as they remain co-owners with their mother.