KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 ― Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong’s lawyers today condemned any attempts to threaten or intimidate their client for pursuing a court challenge against her Muslim convert ex-husband’s unilateral conversion of her three young children to Islam.
In a statement issued by the law firm Srimurugan & Co representing Loh, it noted that PAS had been reported to have issued a stern warning against Loh for filing a lawsuit to seek to nullify her three children’s unilateral religious conversion.
“We are of the view that any form of threat, expressly or impliedly, or even a warning, discouraging a litigant from pursuing his or her legal right in court, amounts to serious interference with the administration of justice and constitutes criminal contempt of court.
“We condemn any form of intimidation, pressure or smear campaign against Madam Loh Siew Hong,” the law firm said.
Loh’s law firm also asked religious figures to not further comment against their client or on the case, as it is a matter that has been brought to the courts.
“We urge all parties to refrain from making any statements pertaining to the case, as it might incite hatred and cause unnecessary tension among various races in the country.
“While we respect the freedom of speech and expression of every citizen in this country, we urge religious figures not to produce any more videos or make any further comments pertaining to the case or against Madam Loh Siew Hong, as the matter is already pending before the Court,” it said.
“We hope that this case will not be politicised and the legal process be allowed to take its own course. We believe in the legal process and we place our trust in the judiciary to resolve the dispute between the parties amicably,” it added.
Earlier today, the online mouthpiece of Islamist party PAS, HarakahDaily, posted an article where the party urged politicians, intellectuals, Islamic preachers, non-governmental organisations and all Muslims in Malaysia to unite in securing the faith of Loh’s children.
HarakahDaily had also quoted PAS information chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin as saying that PAS wants to give a stern warning that there should be no one who wishes to change the religion of the three children who had been converted to Islam.
The warning came a few days after Loh’s filing of a lawsuit to challenge the conversion of her three children to Islam without her consent.
On March 25, Loh had filed her judicial review application in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, naming the four respondents as the Perlis Registrar of Muallaf or Muslim converts, the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council, Perlis mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and the Perlis state government.
In her lawsuit, Loh had sought for eight court orders, including a declaration that her three children are Hindus, and a declaration that her Muslim convert ex-husband is not legally capable of allowing the Perlis registrar of muallafs to register the three children as Muslim converts without her consent.
She is also seeking for court orders to quash the conversion of the three children to Islam and to cancel or stop the issuing of official cards stating the three as having converted to Islam, as well as an order to the Perlis registrar of muallaf to delete or remove the three children’s names from its register of Muslim converts, and to stop the Perlis mufti from making any statements that claim the three children to be Muslim converts or Muslim children.
The hearing of Loh’s application for leave for judicial review is scheduled to be heard by High Court judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh on May 17.
Loh’s children were taken away from her in 2019 while she was hospitalised with injuries she claimed were inflicted by her former husband, who has since converted to Islam and who was said to have 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 a court order granting her full and sole custody of all three children in March 2021, but was unable to find them and had later lodged a police report in December 2021 in her bid to find them.
It was only on February 14, 2022, that she was finally able to see her children, and on February 21 won a court order for her three children to be immediately released to her from alleged unlawful detention as the order granting her sole custody was still valid.