Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong has rejected assertions that her three children, who are under the care of the Perlis Welfare Department after being unilaterally converted to Islam, did not want to see her.
The single mother told Malaysiakini that instead, her children were delighted to see her during their brief reunion in Perlis two days ago, after having been separated since 2019 when she was hospitalised.
Loh added that “certain quarters”, which included her ex-husband’s family, told her children negative stories about her and refused to let them meet even though she was awarded sole custody by the court last year.
“They told my children that their father would commit suicide if they followed me. I was also blamed for sending their father to the prison in Machang, Kelantan, for a drug-related offence.
“My children do not know that I was not responsible for their father being in prison,” she told Malaysiakini in an interview published today.
Loh’s 14-year-old twin daughters and 10-year-old son are currently under the care of the Perlis Welfare Department pending the outcome of her habeas corpus application set to be heard next Monday at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Loh’s children were taken away from her in 2019 while she was hospitalised with injuries she claimed were inflicted by her former husband.
He allegedly hit her with a hammer and broke her legs. She was hospitalised with 27 stitches on her head.
Loh obtained interim custody of her children in July 2019 pending her divorce, but her court case was delayed when the country went into Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.
She finally obtained full custody of her children in March 2021. She continued searching for them so she could finally take them home.
Loh said she received help from Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy and David Marshel who heads an NGO called Malaysian Tamilar Kural.
When she finally met them with the help of the police, her kids rejected her, saying “You are not our mother. Only our aunty and uncle took care of us.”
It was then that Loh realised they were brainwashed into thinking she abandoned them.
Yesterday, Loh failed to meet her children and was told she needed permission from a “higher authority” before she can do so.
She was flabbergasted and was told to return today to try and see her children.
“I meant to give them their presents yesterday. Only a mother knows how it feels not to see her own kids. I have full custody of my children, so why do I need permission from a higher authority to see them?” she said as tears streamed down her cheeks.
Meanwhile, Loh said she is upset with the Perlis mufti, who claimed that her estranged children now dislike her and did not want to return to her.
She admitted that there was some hesitation by her three children, aged 10 to 14, when they first met last Sunday after three years.
“I spoke to my children earlier on the phone. I knew they were a bit cold towards me when I met them.
“But when I met them for an hour at a social welfare department (JKM) safe house, they warmed up to me.
“I am not upset with my children because I know they have been influenced and we have not met for so long.
“That is to be expected. But it hurts to hear someone say that my children dislike me altogether,” she told FMT.