KUALA LUMPUR | Following a legal disagreement with his stepmother over the legality of his later father’s will, more than RM1 million in compensation has been awarded to the manager of a family-run business by the Industrial Court.

Sim Foo Yoke, the company director, was found to have improperly decreased stepson Wong Jun Kit’s pay starting in October 2018, seven months after his father’s passing. This was determined by court chairman D Paramalingam.

Starting in October 2018, the pay cut took effect for the first time. The Shah Alam High Court lawsuit, in which the claimant (Jun Kit) contested the late Wong Kok Wan’s will, was also filed in October 2018, which is undoubtedly no coincidence.

“As pleaded by the claimant, the salary reduction was retaliation by (Sim) against the claimant for having filed the suit, the award read.
Jun Kit’s salary had been reduced from approximately RM27,000 to RM9,000 and later RM6,000 per month, which it said was a “fundamental breach” of his employment contract at Wong Forklift Hire & Services Sdn Bhd found by the court.

“No evidence was put forward before this court that the company had consulted the claimant (Jun Kit) before imposing the said reduction in his salary,” Paramalingam said in a 33-page award released today.

He said that following the non-receipt of salary for February and March 2019, Jun Kit had acted “reasonably” and in a “timely manner” by demanding the restoration of his full salary the following month, which the company had failed to do.

According to Paramalingam, the claimant had every right to leave his job based on constructive dismissal.

In defense, the company asserted that it had decreased Jun Kit’s salary due to a slump in business, which was represented by Tan Shao Jia and Brandon Chee. Additionally, it said that his work performance was subpar.

However, according to Paramalingam, the dismissal of the claimant was not legitimate and was made without good reason or an explanation, and has also found that the company had failed to prove that other employees were also handed a salary reduction.

Due to a complete loss of trust, confidence, and familial ties between Sim and Jun Kit, he claimed that an order for a return to employment was improper.

“The company director, who is the claimant’s stepmother, could not see eye-to-eye after he initiated a suit questioning the last will of his late father,” Paramalingam claimed.

The court granted Jun Kit RM550,000 in back wages and RM660,000 in compensation instead of reinstatement, with an RM198,000 deduction for post-dismissal earnings.