Finally, the Penang-born single mother Loh Siew Hong’s dream of taking care of her children came true after the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the habeas corpus application for her to be with her three children who are currently under the care of Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) or Welfare Department.
Growing up in an Indian community, Loh, a Hindu Chinese, was divorced from her husband Nagashwaran Muniandy on 19th March, 2019, and thereafter was awarded sole custody of her children by the High Court.
The 34-year-old had been unable to see her children for three years after her ex-husband allegedly took them away and later unilaterally converted them to Muslims in Perlis.
The Perlis Religious Department has claimed that the state rules allow unilateral conversions, despite the fact that the Federal Court earlier determined that such conversions require the permission of both parents as well.
Loh said between 2017 and 2019, she filed numerous police reports against Nagashwaran whom she claimed had caused her injury.
According to Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, the sole issue of this application is whether Loh — the applicant — is entitled to habeas corpus for the release of her children who are currently now under the care of JKM.
“Pursuant to an order of the High Court dated March 31, 2021, the applicant was granted sole custody, care and control of the children. There was also earlier an interim ex parte order dated Dec 20, 2019 granting sole custody care and control of the children to the applicant.
“The court orders still stand and are valid and not to be treated with impunity upon the pain of content to court. By the reasons of the court orders therefore, I allowed the application to the habeas corpus as per enclosure one in the notice of motion.
“The three children are to be released forthwith into the sole custody, care and control of the applicant,” he stated when announcing his decision via an open court proceeding on Monday (21st February).