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Published: Saturday June 14, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday June 14, 2014 MYT 1:57:50 PM

WAO: Meetings show commitment to finding long-term answer

PUTRAJAYA: The Attorney-General has given his commitment to find a solution in cases where parents have been awarded custodial rights to their children by both the syariah and civil courts.

This was the assurance given by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail during a second meeting with Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and lawyers representing S. Deepa, whose Muslim convert ex-husband had taken away their son despite her being granted custody of her two children by the High Court.

WAO executive director Ivy Josiah said the fact that two meetings – the first one on Wednesday – were held between her group and lawyers representing Deepa and the A-G reflected Abdul Gani’s commitment to resolve the issue.

“There will be a solution. But what is also important is that there should be a long-term solution to this issue. The A-G also acknowledged the need for one,” Josiah told The Star when met at the A-G’s Chambers after a 90-minute meeting with Abdul Gani and his officers yesterday.

Josiah said the meeting went well even though the two parties did not agree on certain matters.

However, she emphasised they were on the same page on some of the issues, and thanked Abdul Gani and his officers for their prompt assistance and commitment towards finding a solution.

On a suggestion that her son be put in a welfare home, Josiah said Deepa was opposed to it: “She does not want to further traumatise her son.”

While the Seremban High Court had granted Deepa custody of her two children, the Syariah court had also granted Muslim convert N. Viran (now Izwan Abdullah) custody of the children. The Court of Appeal last month dismissed Izwan’s application to set aside the civil court decision.

Deepa is now going ahead to cite her former husband for contempt of court.

“We will be filing an application to cite him for contempt early next week,” said K. Shanmuga, one of the lawyers on Deepa’s legal team who was in the same meeting with Abdul Gani and WAO.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had asked parents involved in custody tussles after each were given the rights to their children by the Syariah and civil courts to use legal means to settle matters and appeal their case in the Federal Court.

In response, Josiah said: “It is important to note that in every dispute on custody thus far, where there is a Syariah court order and a civil court order, the civil courts have granted custody for the mothers regardless of Syariah orders deciding to the contrary,” said Josiah.

The A-G could not be contacted for comment.

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Tags / Keywords: Government, attorney general, deepam custody

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