A mother’s appeal: I will even convert to Islam, just give me back my children

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Loh Siew Hong in tears as she explains her situation where she was denied meeting her children in Jitra during the press conference at Wisma Tamilar Kural, Perai, February 15, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Loh Siew Hong in tears as she explains her situation where she was denied meeting her children in Jitra during the press conference at Wisma Tamilar Kural, Perai, February 15, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

SEBERANG PERAI, Feb 15 — Single mother and chef Loh Siew Hong said she was desperate to have her children back home, and that she would even embrace Islam if this was needed.

The 35-year-old said today that she was willing to convert if this meant she would be reunited with her three children, aged between 10 and 14.

“All I want is to have my children home with me. Yesterday, when I met my children, my daughter asked me to convert to Islam and I told her that I don’t mind, I will become a Muslim as long as they can come home with me,” she told a press conference held with Tamilar Kural Malaysia president David Marshel today.

She said her children were already hugging her and willing to go home with her when she visited them at a children’s home in Kedah under the care of the Perlis Welfare Department.

Loh said she had entrusted the welfare department with her children yesterday after meeting them for the first time in three years at the Kangar district police headquarters.

“I told the welfare officer to contact me if they needed anything and I will get it for them but I never expected that they would not allow me to visit them today,” she said.

“I was told to get my Covid-19 tests done with the results so I prepared everything and was going to visit them when the welfare officer called me at about 12.40pm today to say that I am not allowed to visit them due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the country,” she added in between tears.

She said the welfare officer told her yesterday she only needed to take daily RTK antigen tests and show negative results before being allowed to visit her children so she did what was necessary.

“I only want to see my children so that they can come home with me soon,” she said.

According to David, his sources claimed that the welfare department had again shifted the three children to another home in Arau, Perlis.

“Using the rise in Covid-19 cases as an excuse is unacceptable because even now, all schools remain open, all kindergartens under the welfare department remain open, all economic sectors are open and even the state elections are allowed, so why can’t a mother be allowed to visit her children?” he asked.

He stressed that Loh has a court order granting her full custody of her three children, meaning there was no valid reason for the welfare department to prevent her from visiting her children.

“She only allowed her children to be placed under the welfare department’s care temporarily pending her habeas corpus application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on February 21 for the children to be officially handed back to her,” he said.

He demanded that the Perlis Welfare Department explain why Loh was not allowed to visit her children.

“I also want the women, family and community development minister, Rina Harun, to explain as the welfare department is under her ministry,” he said.

He said the minister has remained silent over the whole issue and demanded that the minister do something about this.

He said they will give the Perlis Welfare Department and the ministry one day to explain why Loh was blocked from visiting her children.

“If we don’t get an explanation from the department or ministry, we will lodge more police reports against all the parties involved and demand for action to be taken including returning the three children to their mother,” he said.

He said Loh is on unpaid leave and has been living with a friend in Butterworth since February 10 to find and get her children back.

“This is not a religious issue at all, this is about a mother wanting her children back with her,” he stressed.

He claimed that Loh was physically abused by her ex-husband and she was hospitalised due to injuries from the assault when her ex-husband took away the children and hid them.

“The last time she saw her children was when she was sent to the hospital in an ambulance in 2019 until yesterday, she met them for the first time in three years,” he said.

He said it is cruel to stop the mother from visiting her children when she was legally granted sole custody of her children.

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