KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong can now finally reunite with her children after the High Court today granted her a writ of habeas corpus for an immediate release of her three children from alleged unlawful detention.
In delivering his decision and allowing Loh’s application, Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah said a December 2019 High Court interim ex-parte order and a March 2021 High Court final order which granted sole custody and full care of her children were still valid and enforceable.
“The court orders should not be treated with impunity. I allow the application as per enclosure one (writ of habeas corpus),” he said after a 45-minutes recess following submissions from parties.
Upon delivery of Sequerah’s decision, Loh could be seen breaking down in tears and had to be consoled by her lawyers.
A habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person.
Loh filed the application through a notice of motion in the High Court on February 13, naming Nazirah Nanthakumari Abdullah, a senior preacher at the Hidayah CentreFoundation and parties currently detaining her three children as the first and second respondents.
Under the grounds for her application, Loh alleged she had reason to believe Nazirah intended or attempted to convert her children to Islam after she found out they had been placed under the Nazirah’s care.
She highlighted that she obtained a civil court order giving her custody, care and control of her three children last year.
Earlier, Lawyer Srimurugan Alagan who represented Loh, argued the predicament his client faced in being unable to meet with her children despite being their biological mother and a March 2021 High Court order which granted her full custody of them.
“This is a mother in distress. At this moment, she cannot go even one centimetre to her children. It is pure inhuman treatment,” he said, noting that the children were currently present in an adjacent witness room in court.
Srimurugan then pointed out that a copy of the existing custody order granted by the court was made available to Nazirah by Loh upon her discovery, and the fact it was disregarded suggested contempt of court.
In reply, lawyer Aidil Khalid who is appearing for Nazirah, submitted that the application was academic since the children were no longer in her custody as they were now under the care of the Welfare Department to which Loh had previously consented to their entrustment.
He also affirmed that there Loh tried repeatedly to meet with his client but they never did due to problems out of his client’s control.
“In her affidavit, she stated how she came to know the children. When the father went missing, she took the responsibility of taking care of them. It was her who initiated communication with the mother.
“If she had any bad intentions to take away the children from their mother, she wouldn't have initiated communications with her,” he said.
Lawyers Rajesh Nagarajan and Tiu Foo Woei held a watching brief for Malaysia Hindu Sangam and the Malaysian Bar respectively.
Loh’s children were taken away from her in 2019 while she was hospitalised with injuries she claimed were inflicted by her former husband, Nagashwaran Muniandy, who has since converted to Islam and then secretly converted the couple’s children.
In December 2019, she obtained interim custody of her children pending her divorce, but her court case was delayed when the country went into Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020; she finally obtained an order granting her full and sole custody in March 2021.