Contrary to the views expressed by the Perlis mufti, Loh Siew Hong’s three children have communicated their wish to be with their mother, a video recording revealed.
In the video taken when Loh visited her children on Saturday morning in Jitra, Kedah, the single mother can be seen asking her children their names and who they would like to be with.
The children were affectionate with their mother, as they identified themselves by their Hindu names, and told Loh that they wanted to stay with her.
Loh had met her 14-year-old twins and 10-year-old son at the Asrama Akhlak, an institution under the protection of the Social Welfare Department.
The recording dismisses Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin’s earlier claims that the children did not want to go back to living with their mother.
Habeas corpus application allowed
Loh is overjoyed today as the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning allowed her habeas corpus application against the Welfare Department and an ustazah (female religious teacher) who took care of the children at one point.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said that an earlier court order which granted sole custody of the children to Loh should not be treated with impunity on pain of contempt of court.
“The three children are to be released forthwith to the sole custody, care and control of the applicant (Loh),” Sequerah ruled.
‘All I want is to be a good mother’
Met in Jitra after her meeting with her children, Loh said she is uncertain when she would be allowed to see her children again.
“But I do not want to pressure, confuse or hurt them anymore, they have been through so much,” she told Malaysiakini.
“Any decision regarding their faith will only be decided when they turn 18.
“All I want to be now is a good mother who will raise them well with much love and care,” she added.
After escaping years of marital abuse, Loh went on a roller coaster ride to find her children, lodging nine police reports and finally obtained full custody of them.
Despite this, she was barred from taking her children home with her where she planned to raise them while working as a chef in a hotel in Genting Highlands.
When she eventually found her children in 2021, they had been unilaterally converted to Islam without her consent, and placed under the care of Islamic NGOs.
Her former husband is serving a two-year prison sentence for a drug-related offence in Machang, Kelantan. He is expected to be released in November. MKINI
PETALING JAYA: Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin said he was not surprised by the High Court’s decision to grant single mother Loh Siew Hong’s habeas corpus application to regain custody of her three children.
However, Asri said he was now looking at other measures which the law can provide to protect the children if they wanted to remain Muslims.
“What we are defending is their religion and if they want to continue to embrace Islam. We are looking at other measures in terms of the law,” he said.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning allowed a habeas corpus application by Loh against the social welfare department and a preacher who looked after the children at one point.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed her application after hearing submissions from her lawyers and counsel appearing for preacher Nazirah Nanthakumari Abdullah.
Asri previously confirmed that the Perlis religious authorities had registered Loh’s three children as Muslims without her being present, which goes against a 2018 Federal Court ruling that the conversion of any child under 18 to another religion needs the consent of both parents.
In today’s statement, Asri again stressed that despite the children being brought to the Kangar police station to be handed over to Loh last week, they refused to follow their mother, whom they had not seen in three years.
“Then Loh agreed that they be cared for by the social welfare department, and they were taken to Kedah instead of Perlis,” he said.
“We never stopped their mother from meeting them.” FMT
MKINI / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY