The High Court has set May 17 to hear an application for leave for judicial review by single mother Loh Siew Hong to challenge her ex-husband’s act of registering their three children as Muslim converts without her consent.
Loh’s lawyer, A Srimurugan, when contacted by reporters, said the application would be heard in an online proceeding before judge Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh.
Loh, 34, filed the application on March 25, naming the Perlis State Registrar of Converts, Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council, Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and the Perlis state government as the first to the fourth respondents.
She is seeking a declaration that her three children are Hindus and that her ex-husband, M Nagahswaran, did not have the legal capacity to allow the Perlis State Registrar of Converts to register their children as converts without her consent.
She is also seeking a declaration that her three children, as children, do not have the legal capacity to convert to Islam without her consent.
She also wants a certiorari order to revoke the declaration of conversion to Islam, dated July 7, 2020, issued by the Registrar of Converts of Perlis in the name of her three children, as well as other cards on their conversion to Islam issued by other parties, and to prevent any party from issuing such cards.
Loh is also applying for a mandamus order to compel the Perlis State Registrar of Converts to delete or cancel the names of her three children or their Muslim names in the Perlis State Register of Converts and a prohibition order to prevent Asri, through officers, employees or the Perlis State Mufti Department from issuing statements that could mean that her children are converts or Muslims.
She is also seeking a declaration that Section 117 (b) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006, which empowers the Registrar of Converts of Perlis to register a child as a convert only with the consent of the mother or father, even if both of them are still alive, is unconstitutional and invalid.
The three children, who were then under the care of the Social Welfare Department, were released to Loh on Feb 21 after the High Court allowed her habeas corpus application.
In a notice of motion filed through Messrs SS Thind on Feb 13, Loh named Nazirah Nanthakumari Abdullah as the first respondent and an unnamed party whom she claimed had been taking care of her three children as the second respondent.
Loh applied for a writ of habeas corpus or other appropriate orders by the court for her children to be immediately released from the respondent’s right of private custody and returned to her.