KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 ― Police have not asked Muhammad Riduan Abdullah’s lawyer to help contact the Muslim convert who is now a fugitive over an interfaith custody case.
Lawyer Hatim Musa was asked if the police have sought his assistance in reaching his client, who is wanted by police for contempt of a court order to return a snatched child.
"No, until now, no," he told reporters when met outside the courtroom.
When asked if he will assist the police to locate Muhammad Riduan if requested to do so, Hatim said: "I'll try to do my best. It's better for us to wait for the verdict. The final verdict is very important."
Hatim was referring to today's case where Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi is challenging the validity of Muhammad Riduan's unilateral conversion of their three children to Islam, where the Federal Court will deliver its decision at a later date.
Hatim insisted that he was only representing Muhammad Riduan in the conversion case today, which he said was different from the custody case where Indira won custody of all three children.
Hatim, who earlier told the Federal Court that his client was not present today, said he informed his client through a third party of today's hearing date.
"I informed the dates. I informed the third party as usual," he told reporters.
Earlier today, the Federal Court said it was "concerned" with Muhammad Riduan Abdullah's continued absence in the case and his continued failure to clear his contempt of court.
Government lawyer Shamsul Bolhassan confirmed that "attempts" have been made to find Muhammad Riduan but that it had not been successful, adding that the man is still in the country.
Indira's lawyer M. Kulasegaran said his client was thankful that the government's lawyer had confirmed Muhammad Riduan is still in Malaysia.
He said his client had lodged a police report several months ago after receiving information that the man could have fled to other countries.
“The senior federal counsel has confirmed that he is in Malaysia, so what is taking so long to catch a fugitive who is known to be in the country?” he told reporters outside the courtroom.
Kulasegaran said the IGP has not replied to letters requesting for information on the hunt for Muhammad Riduan.
He added that his client will follow up with legal action at the High Court in Ipoh by early next year to press the police on the execution of the arrest warrant on the fugitive.
Indira is appealing against Muhammad Riduan’s covert conversion in 2009 of their three children — then aged 12 years old, 11 years old, and 11 months old — without their knowledge and without Indira’s consent.
Indira’s eldest daughter Tevi Darsiny and son Karan Dinish are now adults aged 19 and 18 respectively, while the third child Prasana Diksa, aged eight, is with Muhammad Riduan who had snatched her shortly before unilaterally converting the trio in 2009.
The Federal Court panel today was chaired by Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and also includes Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin, Tan Sri Ramly Ali and Tan Sri Zainun Ali.
On April 29, the Federal Court had in a separate case ruled that the Inspector-General of Police must execute the warrant of arrest against Muhammad Riduan with the supervision of the Ipoh High Court, due to the Muslim convert failing to comply with the Ipoh High Court's order to return the youngest child to Indira — who had obtained custody for all three children.