KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 – The High Court here today ordered the release of Loh Siew Hong’s children, who were converted to Islam without her consent, from their illegal detention by the Social Welfare Department (JKM).
Malaysiakini reported that High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed Loh’s habeas corpus application against JKM and Nazirah Nanthakumari Abdullah, who is a senior preacher at the Hidayah Centre Foundation and had taken care of Loh’s children at one point.
The judge pointed out that Loh had already won sole custody of her children in the High Court on March 31 last year, a court order which he affirmed was still valid.
“The three children are to be released forthwith to the sole custody, care and control of the applicant,” Collin ruled.
The High Court in March 2021 awarded Loh sole custody of her children, 14-year-old twin girls and a 10-year-old boy, following her divorce from ex-husband Nagashwaran Muniandy.
The 34-year-old single mother has been unable to see her children for three years, claiming they were abducted by her ex-husband in 2019.
During a meeting at the Kangar district police headquarters in Perlis on February 14 with her children, Loh reportedly allowed her children to be temporarily placed under the care of the Perlis Welfare Department, until her habeas corpus application is heard in court, after they were allegedly taken by a third party affiliated with a religious non-governmental organisation, Malay Mail reported.
Yet, despite Loh having sole custody of her children, JKM reportedly only allowed the woman to visit her children for an hour on February 16 at a safe house in Jitra, Kedah, instead of daily meetings until today, when her court case was heard, Free Malaysia Today reported.
Loh reportedly lodged a number of police reports against Nagashwaran for causing her physical injuries between 2017 and 2019.
Nagashwaran, who is currently in jail for drug-related offences, unilaterally converted the three children to Islam without Loh’s knowledge and consent in Perlis.
Melissa Goh from Channel News Asia, who was at the High Court complex in Kuala Lumpur, tweeted that scores of Islamic rights activists gathered to protest against Loh’s habeas corpus application.
Seberang Perai Municipal city councillor David Marshel, who has been assisting Loh’s case, shared a photograph of Loh and her three children.