Judge recuses self from hearing MAIPs bid to vary single mum Loh's custody order

KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge has recused herself from hearing the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council's (MAIPs) application to vary the custody order awarded to single mother Loh Siew Hong.

MAIPs counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said Judge Evrol Mariette Peters agreed to MAIPs’ application for her to recuse herself when the matter came up for case management online on Friday (April 7).

"The next case management is fixed on April 19 before a deputy registrar,” Haniff said.

On March 20, MAIPs wrote a letter to the court asking for Peters to recuse herself from the case.

According to a copy of the letter, the state Islamic body was seeking Peters’ recusal as she was the judge who, on June 15, 2022, had dismissed MAIPs' application to intervene after finding that it had failed to show it was an interested party in relation to the children.

However, on Feb 7, 2023, the Court of Appeal quashed this ruling and allowed MAIPs to intervene in Loh’s divorce proceedings, paving the way for the council to then apply to vary the custodial order over the three children.

Through the letter, MAIPs claimed that the judge had erred in her ruling by touching on the merits of the issue of the children’s religious status and the application to vary the custodial order.

MAIPs alleged that this state of affairs required a different judge to hear the application.

In the divorce petition, Loh, 36, has been granted sole custody, care and control over her children.

MAIPs filed the application to intervene on March 7, 2023, to enable the religious authority to have the locus standi to apply to vary the terms of the custody order granted to Loh.

On Feb 21 last year, the three siblings, who were placed under the care of the Social Welfare Department, were released to Loh after the High Court allowed her habeas corpus application.

Meanwhile, Loh’s counsel J. Gunamalar said that they have filed a stay for the variation application by MAIPs. - Bernama

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