KUALA LUMPUR, February 21 – Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong can finally reunite with her children after the High Court today granted her a habeas corpus order for the immediate release of her three children from alleged unlawful detention.
In making his decision and allowing Loh’s application, Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah said that an interim High Court ex parte order of December 2019 and a final High Court order of March 2021 granting sole custody and full custody of her children were still valid and enforceable.
“Court orders should not be treated in a punitive manner. I authorize the request pursuant to the first attachment (writ of habeas corpus),” he said after a 45-minute break following submissions from the 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 legal remedy by which a person can report unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order guardianship of the person.
Loh filed the petition through a notice of motion in the High Court on February 13, naming Nazirah Nanthakumari Abdullah, senior preacher at the Hidayah CenterFoundation and the parties currently holding her three children as first and second defendants.
Earlier, barrister Srimurugan Alagan, who represented Loh, argued the predicament her client faced of being unable to meet her children despite being their birth mother and a High Court order from March 2021 granting him full custody of them.
“She is a mother in distress. At the moment she cannot even go an inch towards her children. This is pure inhumane treatment,” he said, noting that the children were currently present. in a witness room adjacent to the court.
In response, lawyer Aidil Khalid who is appearing for Nazirah, argued that the request was academic since the children were no longer in his care as they were now in the care of the Department of Social Welfare to which Loh had previously consented to entrust them.
Loh’s children were taken from her in 2019 while she was hospitalized with injuries she says were inflicted by her former husband, Nagashwaran Muniandy, who has since converted to Islam, then secretly converted the couple’s children.
In December 2019, she was granted interim custody of her children pending her divorce, but her trial was delayed when the country entered Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020; she was eventually granted an order granting him full and sole custody in March 2021.