Court tells why Muslim mum ordered to surrender custody of kids to Buddhist dad

The Court of Appeal says the children’s mother had placed her interest above theirs. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Court of Appeal said it awarded full custody of two siblings to their Buddhist father as their Muslim convert mother “placed her interest above theirs”.

The court, in explaining its decision to set aside the custody order favouring the mother, said she had previously breached a High Court consent order, before the start of divorce proceedings.

“The mother had brought the siblings to the mosque and even planned to enrol them in an Islamic school, although both parties agreed in the consent order that the children shall not be influenced into embracing another religion until they attain the age of majority,” the court said in its written judgment made available online.

The mother converted to Islam in December 2015 while she and her then husband were in the midst of divorce. She converted the siblings in May 2016.

She obtained full custody of the siblings in April last year at the Shah Alam High Court, but the Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s ruling and awarded custody to the father.

The father also won his case to quash the siblings’ conversion to Islam. He claimed she converted them with the intention of winning custody.

The appeal by the mother and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department’s (Jawi) muallaf registrar against the quashing of the children’s conversion will be heard on Oct 29.

In its written judgment, the appeals court mentioned another incident where the mother disregard the safety of one of the children.

“She had lost the elder daughter in June last year after performing her prayers. The daughter had to walked back to her father’s house at night, feeling scared and in tears,” it said.

The court also said the High Court judicial commissioner who heard the divorce petition had erred in her decision by finding that the father could not take care of his children because he had to manage two companies.

“The father said he is a director of one company and another company, mentioned by the mother in her evidence, has been wound up,” the judgment read.

Lawyer Rohani Ibrahim, representing the mother, said the Federal Court will hear her application for leave to appeal against awarding custody to the father on Thursday.