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Parkson Retail Asia fends off Malaysian landlord's claim for unpaid rental

PARKSON Retail Asia's unit, Parkson Corporation Sdn Bhd (PCSB), has defended against a legal claim in Malaysia of about RM1.5 million (S$500,000) by the landlord of its M Square Mall store, Millennium Mall Sdn Bhd (MMSB).

The claim was for alleged outstanding rental and late payment charges, Parkson said in a Singapore Exchange (SGX) filing on Monday.

The department store operator has obtained an injunction restraining MMSB from acting on the notice and seeking a winding-up petition against PCSB as long as PCSB initiates either an arbitration or legal proceeding against MMSB within 30 days from Sept 27, the date of the court's ruling, said Parkson.

The Malaysia court ruled that the notice MMSB had issued to PCSB under the threat of winding up was an abuse of court process, and ordered MMSB to reimburse PCSB RM10,000 for legal costs, Parkson added.

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MMSB's solicitors had sent the notice to PCSB on July 17, 2019, after PCSB had sent a notice of lease termination to MMSB on May 8, 2019 and ceased operations at the M Square Mall store on June 30, 2019, Parkson disclosed in August. PCSB's position was that its unpaid rental could be offset by money owed by MMSB for its non-compliance of two settlement letters in relation to the same store.

After MMSB filed notice, PCSB's lawyers filed for the injunction on July 29, 2019, and the case's hearing date was set on Sept 19.

According to Parkson in its August disclosure, MMSB’s solicitors had given an undertaking to the court that it would not file any winding up petition against PCSB until after a decision had been made on the injunction application. But after the injunction was filed, PCSB had received a legal letter from MMSB alleging wrongful termination of its lease and claiming about RM77.9 million for reinstatement charges, rental charges for the lease period, double rental and ancillary charges.

PCSB said the claimed amount was grossly inflated and disputed it. MMSB did not proceed with formal legal action on this claim.

Shares of mainboard-listed Parkson Retail Asia, which is on the SGX's watch list, were unchanged at S$0.022 as at 9.15am.