KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed single mother Loh Siew Hong’s attempt to nullify the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam by their father.
Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said there was no evidence that the three children had stopped professing Islam.
“The applicant did not deny the assertion (by her former husband) that the children continued professing the religion of Islam in performing daily ‘subuh’ prayers when they were in custody,” Wan Farid said.
No costs were ordered.
Wan Farid said the children’s eagerness to follow Islamic rites, including the ambition of one of them to become a syarie lawyer, was sufficient proof that they were Muslim.
He also said that while Loh disagreed with such claims (of adhering to religious rituals) it would remain a “bare denial”.
“Even if the certificates of conversion were not (considered) conclusive proof, in view of its unilateral nature, the ‘force of the evidence’ would suggest that the three children continued professing the religion of Islam,” he said.
He said the ruling did not depart from the landmark case of M Indira Gandhi, a Hindu mother who was involved in an interfaith custody battle, but rather “refined its interpretation” in light of subsequent cases.
Wan Farid said, ultimately, the court was setting a precedence on the welfare of the children since there was no evidence before the court that the children had reverted to Hinduism.
“There is no evidence before me that the three children have reverted to the Hindu religion.
“There is another aspect of Indira’s case that has rarely been discussed in subsequent reported cases. It concerns the welfare of the children (and) that must take precedence,” he said.
When contacted, Loh’s lawyer A Srimurugan said they would be filing an appeal against the decision at the Court of Appeal.
Separately, lawyer Shamsher Singh Thind, also representing Loh, said his client vehemently denied the claim that her children followed Islamic rites in an affidavit earlier, and a news article claiming the same had retracted their remarks.