SINGAPORE – He refused to get a job after his timber business failed in the 1980s, so Mr Saw’s wife and three children supported him for 30 years.
But after he killed himself in June last year, the 63-year-old left all $37,000 in his Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to a woman from China he met in a bar, something his family found out only while clearing out his belongings.
His widow, 61, tried to appeal in court, which cost her $30,000 in legal fees. Not only did she lose the suit, but she also has to pay $7,000 in court fees.
His son, 43, who is in the finance industry, started working when he turned 18 to provide for his family. “We were so angry and helpless,” he said. “Growing up, my motherpaid for us out of her $1,000 salary as a childcare assistant.” The family asked that their full names not be published.
They had written to the CPF Board which said that it had to follow the man’s wishes. They then tried to file an injunction against the statutory board in June last year to stop it from disbursing the funds to a Ms Liu, who works as a customer service staff member at Marina Bay Sands, according to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao. She could not be reached for comment.
But the court ruled in Ms Liu’s favour last month, saying that she and Mr Saw had a good relationship – regardless of whether the woman was his “goddaughter” or mistress. There was also not enough evidence to pass judgment on Mr Saw’s mental state.
The family says it is considering appealing to the High Court, and has until Monday to do so.
The younger Mr Saw claims the nominee form had a cancellation on it which makes it invalid. In addition, he said, his father was suffering from depression and had tried to overdose on pills three times since March last year.
Besides the CPF money, the late Mr Saw also apparently left behind a will, stating that his executive maisonette in Bukit Panjang, of which he is the sole owner, is to be sold three months after his death, according to a copy of the will. The family cannot find the original document.
The lion’s share of the proceeds – $150,000 – is to go to Ms Liu, while an additional $50,000 will be given to Ms Ye, another Chinese national. The dead man’s brother, one Ms Ng, an old folks’ home and a temple will get between $30,000 and $50,000. What is left, if any, will go to his son, two daughters and wife.
Meanwhile, his widow, who is now living with his youngest sister, has applied for a studio apartment with the Housing Board. She does not want to continue living in the now-empty flat because she was traumatised after discovering Mr Saw’s body there.
Her new home will be ready next year and will cost $150,000. Her son said: “We are trying to raise money… to pay for the flat.”