Leave Loh's family alone, let them live in peace, urges Wanita MCA


ALL parties should leave single mother Loh Siew Hong and her children alone and allow them to peacefully resume their life as a family unit, urges Wanita MCA.

In a statement Wednesday (May 15), Wanita MCA national deputy chairman Tee Hooi Ling said that as the Federal Court had dismissed the appeals from all parties, the Court of Appeal decision in January that the unilateral conversion by Loh's ex-husband M. Nagahswaran was illegal will be taken as the final decision.

"The Federal Court has upheld the constitutional rights of Loh Siew Hong as a mother and of non-Muslims to freedom of religion.

"The apex court's finding on May 14 is a fitting tribute to mothers, especially to Loh, as it was delivered just two days after Mothers’ Day," Tee added.

She also said that to prevent similar incidents from recurring in future, Wanita MCA implores the government to uphold the rights of non-Muslims via legislative amendments, including incorporating Article 88A into the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act to allow children to maintain their original religious beliefs until they reach the age of majority, upon which the child will then determine their faith.

"To further avoid doubt and to ensure clarity, the Malay version of the Federal Constitution must be amended to revert to using the original terminology of 'parents' ie 'ibubapa', instead of 'mother or father' or ‘ibu atau bapa’," she said.

The full text of Tee's statement can be read below:

AS THE Federal Court has dismissed appeals from the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) and the Perlis government to review a judgement by the Court of Appeal, which in January this year, had dismissed their case involving the unilateral conversion of the minor children of Loh Siew Hong, Wanita MCA urges all quarters to cease all harassments on the family.

Allow them to resume their life peacefully as a family unit, free of interferences from any dissatisfied or overzealous party.

As the apex court has dismissed the appeals from all parties, this means that the Court of Appeal's decision in January that the unilateral conversion by Loh's ex-husband M. Nagahswaran was illegal and will be taken as the final decision.

It also means that the religion of the minor children of Loh Siew Hong remains as Hindu as recorded in their birth certificates.

The Federal Court has upheld the Constitutional rights of Loh Siew Hong as a mother and of non-Muslims to freedom of religion.

The Federal Court’s finding on May 14, 2024, is a fitting tribute to mothers, and especially to Loh Siew Hong, as it was delivered just two days after Mothers’ Day.

Loh is a single mother to three minor children - twin daughters aged 16 years old and a son aged 10.

Legislative amendments needed

To prevent similar incidents from recurring in future, Wanita MCA once again implores the government to uphold the rights of non-Muslims via legislative amendments.

These include, incorporating Article 88A into the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act to allow children to maintain their original religious beliefs until they reach the age of majority ie 18, upon which the child will then determine his/her faith, and that any change to a minor child’s religion may only be undertaken after securing consent from both parents ie “ibubapa.”

For further avoidance of doubt and to substantiate clarity, the Malay version of the Federal Constitution must be amended to revert to using the original terminology of “parents” ie “ibubapa”, instead of “mother or father" or "ibu atau bapa”.

Irrespective if the parent is Muslim or non-Muslim, Wanita MCA believes that people in general are reasonable and such incidents will not repeat.

The women’s wing of MCA hopes that individuals undergoing a separation, or are in a process of divorce, or have divorced will not exploit the law to gain an advantage over their spouses.

Safeguarding the welfare of minor children is paramount. They should be raised in an environment of compassion, feel loved and not become fodder during their parents’ tug-of-war battle.

Therefore, lawmakers need to actively prevent these administrative or legal loopholes from being abused and avoid families breaking apart acrimoniously over similar matters.

In July 2020, the children’s father (Loh’s ex-husband) embraced Islam and unilaterally brought all three children along for their conversion to Islam in Perlis.

Loh has said this was done without her knowledge and consent. The father’s actions sparked a national outcry. During this period, Loh was forcibly separated from her children, while the judicial process and public debates caused her and her children to be subjected to immense pressure and unnecessary public scrutiny.

TEE HOOI LING

Wanita MCA National Deputy Chairman

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Loh Siew Hong , Wanita MCA , Tee Hooi Ling

   

Next In Letters

Dashcams for all, please
Selayang council’s 50% rate hike unjustified, difficult to protest
When salaries are raised
Fuel subsidy rationalisation must be equitable
Addressing the decline of interest in STEM
Examine the nitty-gritty of proposed Drug Dependants Act before it's tabled
Navigating the future: Malaysia's ethical AI vision
Targeted subsidies foster growth and sustainability
Pesticide-free agriculture
Don’t let smoking ruin our future

Others Also Read