KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The High Court today ordered Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong's Muslim convert ex-husband Muhammad Nagahswaran Muniandy to pay a RM20,000 fine for contempt of court within 14 days, and said failure to do so would result in him being jailed for 14 days.
Loh was pursuing contempt of court proceedings against the ex-husband, over his failure to comply with a previous court order which granted her sole custody of her three children. Instead, the ex-husband had taken the children away and kept them separated from Loh.
Today, High Court judge Evrol Mariette Peters ruled that the ex-husband was actually well aware of what he had done, and that he had gone missing in order to avoid being detected and to evade the court order granting custody of the children to Loh, news portal Malaysiakini reported.
Among other things, Malaysiakini reported the judge as saying that the ex-husband had got a family member involved to prevent the children from being returned to Loh.
The judge said the ex-husband's failure to comply with the child custody order had resulted in Loh having to run around and to file different court applications just to reunite with her children and also noted that the children were deprived of their mother when they were passed around from one person to another, Malaysiakini reported.
Malaysiakini cited the judge as saying that the ex-husband had tried to avoid being served with court documents on the contempt of court matter, and that he could not use his own conduct to complain that he was not given those court documents.
The judge reportedly said the ex-husband had interfered with the administration of justice.
According to Malaysiakini, the ex-husband is seeking a stay of the court's order for him to pay RM20,000 for contempt of court, as he is pursuing an appeal at the Court of Appeal against today's decision.
Loh’s three children were taken away from her in 2019 while she was hospitalised with injuries she claimed were inflicted by her former husband. The three children were born to the couple when they were still non-Muslims.
The former husband converted to Islam and on July 7, 2020 secretly converted the three children to Islam without Loh's consent.
In December 2019, Loh 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 of the three children in March 2021.
Despite the March 2021 decision which gave her full custody of the three children, Loh was still separated from them.
Loh was only reunited with her three children when the High Court on February 21, 2022 ordered the trio's immediate release from alleged unlawful detention.
Separately, the High Court is scheduled to deliver its decision on May 11 on Loh's challenge and bid to cancel the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam.