Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Judge to interview Hindu mum Loh Siew Hong’s three children as Perlis Islamic council seeks access

Judge to interview Hindu mum Loh Siew Hong’s three children as Perlis Islamic council seeks access

Loh Siew Hong (left) and her lawyer J. Gunamalar at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex September 27, 2023. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023 11:51 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — High Court judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz will be interviewing Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong’s three children — who were unilaterally converted to Islam by their father without their consent — as part of court proceedings on the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council’s (MAIPs) bid to give Islamic education to the children.

Today, the High Court heard MAIPs’s application to vary or make changes to a custody order — which granted Loh full custody over the three children in her divorce with the Hindu-turned-Muslim ex-husband — in order to secure access to the children for purposes such as giving them Islamic lessons and bring them to the mosques for Islamic celebrations.

But early on during the hearing, the judge said it would be better for her to speak to the children, who had in the past been interviewed by another High Court judge.

“To my mind, I think it’s better for me to interview the children again, because this is after all about them,” the judge said, adding that she will interview the children this afternoon.

“The purpose I would like to interview, I was a family court judge before for quite a number of years, I make it a practice — maybe not for all files — to interview the children,” she later said.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who was representing MAIPs, said his client has no issue with the judge interviewing the children as it would be fair for the judge to get a full picture.

Loh’s lawyer J. Gunamalar also said she had also thought of inviting the judge to interview the children.

The judge then proceeded to hear arguments from lawyers on MAIPs’ application, before saying she will interview the children first and may hear further arguments from lawyers for all parties after that.

The three children are twin girls who will be turning 15 this year and a boy aged 12.

Loh is still challenging the validity and legality of the three children’s conversion to Islam, and the Court of Appeal is set to hear her appeal on this matter on October 19.


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