Would a Malay mother have suffered a similar fate?


Free Malaysia Today

Kindergarten teacher Indira Gandhi was again unsuccessful in her lawsuit against the former inspector-general of police (IGP) and the government, for their alleged failure to arrest her former husband who had kidnapped her daughter.

The judge, Justice Raja Ahmad Mohzanuddin Shah Raja Mohzan said Indira had failed to prove her case on the balance of probabilities.

Will not this latest development give another excuse to the police for their alleged inaction? Why are they dragging their feet when it comes to helping Indira? Would the same predicament have been allowed to happen to a Malay mother?

If PDRM cannot protect a mother and child, who will? Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly said that all religions must be respected. Why can’t the authorities comprehend this simple fact?

To every parent in the land, what happened to Indira is simply unacceptable. Her daughter was forcibly taken from her despite a court order granting Indira custody of her children when she divorced her husband.

The case has been ongoing for over a decade that most people have forgotten about it and an equal number, especially those among the younger generation, are probably unclear as to what has transpired.

It all started when Indira’s baby daughter was abducted by her former husband, K. Pathmanathan, whom Indira divorced in 2008.

In 2009, he converted from Hinduism to Islam and assumed the Muslim name Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah. He probably felt that it was his right to take “ownership” of his three children and convert them.

At the shariah court, he applied for and was granted custody of the three children. Indira fought back, and the High Court granted her custody of the children in 2010.

The High Court quashed the conversion of the three children, saying it was unconstitutional for the following reasons.

  •  The children had to be present in person and were required to utter the affirmation of faith before a certificate of conversion could be issued.
  •  The High Court declared that the custody order, granted by the shariah court, was null and void, as the mother’s testimony had not been heard.

In other words, Pathmanathan had failed to respect the law which says that the mother‘s permission is needed prior to conversion. Two of the children were eventually returned to Indira, but the convert husband has refused to return the baby, Prasana Diksa, who is now 16 years old.

In a later development, the Court of Appeal also directed the IGP to find Pathmanathan and return Prasana to her mother.

Instead of doing his job, the then IGP used the offices of the attorney-general (AG) to appeal against the High Court order.

What Malaysians learn from this is that the two systems of law, civil and shariah, appear to be incompatible with one another.

The former IGP said that he could not obey the court order because it conflicted with the shariah court order.

The authorities needs to put themselves in Indira’s shoes. The pain and the anguish of her suffering, despite her valiant efforts to compel the police to return her daughter to her, are unimaginable.

From other reports in the past, we know that the mother had uncovered evidence to track him down. So how is it that the police are unable to utilise the information to capture Pathmanathan? PDRM claims Indira’s ex-husband is in southern Thailand. Can they not seek the help of the Thai police to apprehend him?

When the IGPs took up their oath of office, it must have included a phrase “to protect the public, to uphold the law, to execute his duties with integrity and due diligence, and to represent all sections of the rakyat, without fear or favour.”

Why is there extreme difficulty executing this order? Would this delay have happened to a Malay mother? Where is the justice for Indira? - FMT

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

Would a Malay mother have suffered a similar fate?