her parents died of cancer, leaving her an orphan and she had to be
looked after by her mother's relatives in Sungai Petani, Kedah. Growing up in an Indian community, she followed the Hindu faith and learned to speak Tamil fluently. Seeking
to improve her life, Loh completed her studies as a chef at a local
community college. It was at the college that she met her husband,
Her journey into darkness and pain began in 2017 when Nagahswaran started physically abusing her. Loh
said while he never smoked or drank alcohol, Nagahswaran started taking
crystal methamphetamine, a recreational drug commonly known as ice,
that year. "I had to pay for everything. I got to know he was having an affair with an Indian Muslim woman, but I did not know who she was.
he had been seeing the woman after I gave birth to my son. Even my
neighbours knew and they told me about it," she said. Eventually, Nagahswaran's aggression became too much for her to bear. She
tried to seek help from a friend who frequently visited her shop. This
acquaintance had a neighbour who was a police officer.
But Nagahswaran got to know of her plan when her son unwittingly mentioned it to him. "He was so angry that he dragged me to a forest near the house, pulled my hair, cut it with a knife, and broke my legs and arm."He brought my children along and threatened that he would burn us all alive. My children were terrified," she said. She finally reached out to members of her family in Singapore, who lodged a police report in Johor Bahru.
The police came knocking at her mother-in-law's home and took Nagahswaran away. "It
was then I took my children with me, lodged another police report and
headed to the Welfare Department. I was in plaster for six months. "I was placed in an old folk's home under the Welfare Department in Bidong, about 12km from Sungai Petani. "I stayed there for a month but by then, my husband was released on RM10,000 bail," she said.
welfare officer told her she could not stay long at their premises. Loh
recollected that the officer even made snide remarks about her plight. "You chose your husband, you have to live with it," Loh was told. In despair, Loh returned to her husband. He remained sober for only three days. Then it was back to the same old routine. She
found a job as a cashier as her sister-in-law had taken over her
economy rice stall. Her monthly pay was RM1,200 but her husband demanded
RM500 from her every month as he was unemployed.
Loh loathed the situation she was in and resolved once again to leave with her children in tow. One
day, there was an event next door and Nagahswaran was not at home. Loh
quickly bundled her children and made her escape, seeking shelter at a
family member's home. After that, she and the children left for
Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, to live with her cousin who is attached
to the army. Although he said the place was safe, Loh still felt
When she tried to register the children at a school
nearby, Loh was told she needed documents to show that she had applied
for a change of schools. Following this, she swallowed her pride and returned to her husband. Nagahswaran
was only sober for three days, after which he started to beat her
again. Her neighbours knew what was happening, but no one came to her
One day he hit her head with a hammer and broke her legs again. She had to ask her mother-in-law to help call for an ambulance. "I did not tell her that her son abused me. I just wanted to get out of the house." Loh was hospitalised and received 27 stitches on her head. Nagahswaran found her at the hospital and tried to take her home, but
the doctor said: "No, let her get well before you take her home."
He later lodged a police report against the doctor. In July 2019, Loh obtained interim custody of her children, who were
then with her husband. But when she went to claim them, the police were
not helpful. Her neighbours urged her to rescue her children,
fearing they might be abused by their father. She immediately filed for
divorce and custody. Loh eventually obtained full custody of her children early last year.
By then, her husband was arrested and sentenced to two years in jail
in Machang, Kelantan, over a drug-related offence. Loh had no idea where
her three children were. She eventually found the twins, now 14, with an Islamic NGO and her 10-year-old son at a Tahfiz school in Tasek Gelugor, Penang. All three were unilaterally converted to Islam without her knowledge.
Several NGOs have rallied behind Loh, demanding that her children be returned to their mother. However, Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin claimed the children did not want to see their mother and would rather remain as Muslims. But Loh is determined to get her children back. "This
is not about race or politics. They can be Muslim, Hindu or Christian. I
accept that. I just want my children back," she pleaded. Meanwhile, Nagahswaran is expected to be released from prison in November.