SHAH ALAM HIGH COURT RULED THAT PJ KWAN INN TENG TEMPLE IS A CHARITABLE TRUST……
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
The founder of Kwan Inn Teng Temple (“the Temple”), Ven. Keng Hup @ Keng Ang passed away on 12.1.2000 leaving a Will dated 13.6.1999 appointing one Shirley Yeoh (“Shirley”) and Mak Yin Kwai (“Mak”) as executrix together with another co-executor one Rev. Ming Yi. Under the Will, Rev Ming Yi was also being appointed as sole Trustee for the Temple. Being the Trustee for the Temple, Rev Ming Yi also assumed the role as Chief Abbot of the Temple. On 15.12.2002, Rev Ming Yi has appointed one Rev Ming Ji as the superintendent of the Temple. On 24.3.2011, vide a Deed of Resignation, Rev Ming Yi resigned as Trustee for the Temple and further appointed Shirley an Mak as sole Trustee for the Temple. Being clothed with the power as Sole Trustees, Shirley and Mak subsequently issued letters to evict Rev Ming Ji from the Temple. Shirley and Mak had also vide an ex-parte court order dated 29.4.2011(“the ex-parte court order”) declaring themselves as the Sole Trustees of the Temple with all powers vested in Rev. Ming Yi and subsequently filed a court action to amongst others evict Rev Ming Ji from the Temple.
The essential provisions of the Will inter alia stated as follows:- I EMPOWER my trustee in his sole and absolute discretion to elect and/or appoint his – individual successor and/or substitute provided always that the successor and/or substitute my trustee is from the (CAODONG) Clan and is a MALE and is subject to the trusts created herein and I that any such choice by my trustee shall be binding upon all concerned. My trustee’s primary duty is the maintenance and care of Kwan Inn Teng as may in all the circumstances be reasonable and as my trustee shall in his absolute discretion think fit provided always my trustee shall ensure that Kwan Inn Teng is only employed for such religious purposes in connection with or pursuant to the said Objects. My trustee shall act as the Chief Abbot of Kwan Inn Teng and shall be responsible for the day-to-day administration, management and operations of Kwan Inn Teng and he shall devote substantial time and attention to the promotion and advancement of the Buddhist religion at Kwan Inn Teng and I declare that the Residents shall assist him in carrying out the same.
APPLICATION TO INTERVENE AND SETTING ASIDE THE EX PARTE COURT ORDER (“THE SAID APPLICATION”)
Halim Hong & Quek (“HHQ”) being the legal firm representing Rev. Ming Ji together with Mr. Siva Kumar Kanagasabai, our acting counsel had filed an application to intervene and set aside the ex-parte court order. The Honourable High Court Judge after perusing both parties’ written submission and hearing both parties’ counsel’s further oral submission agreed with HHQ’s submission click here(Part 1& Part 2) to read the submissionand allowed the said application with cost.
THE GROUNDS OF THE COURT DECISION
The gist of the court decision and/or grounds of judgment are as follows:-
(1) Both Yeoh and Mak have used the ex-parte court order dated 29/04/2011 to appoint themselves as trustees to evict Rev. Ming Ji from the Temple Kwan Inn Teng in another suit.
(2) Rev. Ming Ji therefore has a legal interest to intervene in the proceeding which led to the court order dated 29/04/2011 appointing Yeoh Guat Lim, Shirley and Mak Yin Kwai @ Mak Chooi Yoon as substituted trustees under the will of the late Rev. Keng Hup @ Keng Ang (“the Court Order”)
(3) Both Yeoh and Mak are not fit and proper person to be appointed as trustees under the will as they are not male monks from the Caodong clan.
(4) The will dated 13/06/1999 created a charitable trust as it can be clearly seen from the object of the will, ie for enhancement of Buddhist religion.