Court sets Aug 1 to decide on Loh’s time extension application in unilateral conversion case

Loh Siew Hong. - Screengrab from Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed Aug 1 for decision in an application by single mother Loh Siew Hong who is seeking a time extension in her judicial review application in her bid to challenge her children's unilateral conversion to Islam.

Loh's lawyer A. Srimurugan said the four respondents objected to Loh's application on grounds that she had exceeded the allowed timeline which should be within 90 days after the three children - whose names are withheld - converted to Islam on July 7, 2020.

ALSO READ: MAIPs has legal interest to intervene in Loh’s divorce petition, court heard

According to Srimurugan, there was no delay in filing the application as Loh only found out about her children's conversion on March 10 and the leave for judicial review application was subsequently filed on March 25.

"We have also included a relief for time extension if there was indeed a delay and this was objected to by the respondents," he said when contacted by the press.

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The leave application was heard via an online proceeding before Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh.

Also in the proceedings were lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who represented Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) and Senior Federal Counsel Ainul Wardah Shahidan who represented three respondents; Perlis State Registrar of Converts, Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and the Perlis state government.

ALSO READ: Court to hear bid to challenge unilateral conversion

On March 25, Loh, 34, filed the leave application and named the four respondents in her bid to seek a court declaration that her three children are Hindus.

She also sought a declaration 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.

Loh is also seeking a declaration that her three children, as children, do not have the legal capacity to convert to Islam without her consent.

ALSO READ: Loh going to court to annul children’s conversion

She also sought 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, and also other cards on their conversion to Islam that have been issued by other parties, and also prevent any party from issuing such a card.

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 Mohd Asri, through officers, employees or the Perlis State Mufti Department from issuing statements that could mean that her children are converts or Muslims.

ALSO READ: Court orders media not to expose names, pictures of Loh’s children

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 of the child, even if both of them are still alive, is unconstitutional and is invalid.

The three children, who were then under the care of the Social Welfare Department, were released to Loh last Feb 21 after the High Court allowed her habeas corpus application.

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