KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was informed today that the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) is responsible for guiding and educating three converted children under the care of their mother, Loh Siew Hong, to learn about Islam.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, represented MAIPs, said the council is legally responsible under the Perlis Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2006 to ensure the welfare of these children is maintained, including providing support permitted by Islamic law, which can be channelled through any legal guardian.
He added Loh and her former husband, Muhammad Nagahswaran Muniandy, were also incapable of providing their children with a strong foundation in Islamic education.
“As Loh is a Buddhist who practices both Buddhism and Hinduism, she is unable to provide basic Islamic teachings. Meanwhile, Muhammad Nagahswaran also faces difficulty teaching them about Islam since he converted on July 7, 2020, at the same time as his children,“ Mohamed Haniff said during MAIPs’ application before Judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz.
MAIPs requested the children be allowed to attend “Fardhu Ain” classes through MAIPs representatives while being supervised by their mother, added the lawyer.
“MAIPs requests the court’s approval to have two women and one male MAIPs representative to conduct 'Fardhu Ain' classes for the converted children in a two-hour session every two weeks.
“It’s important because MAIPs has an ongoing responsibility to help these children learn about Islam as long as they are Muslims,“ he said, adding that it will also assist the single mother in understanding the concept of halal and haram, particularly when it comes to preparing food for her children.
Meanwhile, Loh's counsel J. Gunamalar submitted that MAIPs's application is an abuse of the court process.
She said since MAIPs is not seeking to vary the child custody order, it has no business in varying the maintenance order.
“As far as Loh is concerned, she is very happy with the current order of maintenance. She does not want anything else, and MAIPs does not have the right to force her to accept anything, especially when there is nothing in MAIPs’ affidavits to show that the said children need more money for their proper upbringing,“ Gunamalar said.
Judge Hayatul set Oct 11 for decision.
Earlier, the judge interviewed the three children in closed proceedings for nearly an hour.
MAIPs has submitted a request for a variation order to assume responsibilities for the children, including facilitating their attendance at Friday prayers and participation in Islamic holidays at a nearby mosque, providing zakat assistance and supporting their living expenses, involving education, essential needs, and welfare, among others.
On Feb 7, the Court of Appeal allowed MAIPs to be the second respondent in the divorce petition filed by Loh's former husband, Muhammad Nagahswaran Muniandy, involving the custody rights of their three children that she had obtained.
In the divorce petition, Loh, 34, was granted sole custody and guardianship over the pair of 15-year-old twin girls and a 12-year-old boy. -Bernama