Thursday, September 24

Bi-Anne wants say on matters before court


PUTRAJAYA: Eleven-year-old Low Bi-Anne wants to have a say on matters concerning her custody before the Court of Appeal.

Consequently, an application has been filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, seeking leave from the court to appoint social worker B Vijayakumari G A Pillai, 60, as Guardian ad Litem to Bi Anne.

(A Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to protect the rights and advocate the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding).

The application is scheduled to be heard before a senior assistant registrar tomorrow.

Under the law, a Guardian ad Litem is required to be appointed for the child to enable her to get the locus standi to appear and participate in the court proceedings.

The application was filed under Rule 86(1) and (2), Rules of the Proceedings Divorce and Matrimonial 1980 and Order 76 Rules of the High Court 1980 by lawyer Jagjit Singh on Nov 9, last year.

In the application, Jagjit said he was approached by ‘Please Save the Child’ Association president who had read about Bi-Anne in local newspapers.

He said he then contacted the lawyer representing
Bi-Anne’s father, Low Swee Siong, to obtain permission to speak with the child.

Subsequently, he said Bi-Anne met with Vijayakumari at the ‘Please Save the Child’ Association and “expressed her feelings which were not taken into consideration by the court so far”.

He said the child, who was the subject matter in the court proceeding at the Court of Appeal, had expressed her wish to
have Vijayakumari appointed as her Guardian ad Litem to take care of her interests in the court proceeding.

Outside the court, Vijayakumari, when asked by reporters, said Bi-Anne had stated that she wanted to be with her father and if the court accepted her (Vijayakumari) as Bi-Anne’s guardian, she (Vijayakumari) would talk on behalf of the girl.

There are six appeals lodged by 40-year-old Swee Siong, a real estate negotiator, at the Court of Appeal over the decision of a Family Court.

Among the decisions of the Family Court were to allow Bi-Anne’s mother Tan Siew Siew, 37, a restaurant manager in London, to take the child (Bi-Anne) to Britain; ordering the surrender of the girl’s passport; dismissing Swee Siong’s interim access to the girl; and finding and convicting him for contempt of court and refusing a stay order.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal’s three-man panel led by Justice Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing adjourned the hearing of the appeals to March 2, after lawyer K Bowanes informed the court that she received instructions from Tan to stop acting on behalf of her (Tan) on the matters before the court.

Justice Low (Low Hop Bing) directed Tan to engage a new counsel of her choice on or before the next hearing date to represent her in the six appeals.

Earlier, the panel, also comprising justices Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad and Datuk Mohamed Apandi Ali declined to consider some documents which were forwarded to them by Tan’s brother through the senior assistant registrar.

Justice Low, in making the order to return the documents, said the documents were not properly filed in the court, pursuant to the Rules of the Court of Appeal 1994.

It was not known what the contents of the documents were.

The panel also rejected Swee Siong’s application for an interim stay of the fine, pending disposal of the appeals.

On Sept 13, last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court fined Swee Siong RM20,000 and a RM400 fine for each day of delay in handing over the girl to Tan, for disobeying a court order that he hand over Bi-Anne to his ex-wife.

Swee Siong and Tan were married in 1999.

The couple divorced in 2006, and custody of
Bi-Anne was given to the father.

Two years later, (in 2008) Tan, 37, applied for and won custody and Low was given reasonable access.

However, Bi-Anne refused to be with her mother and insisted that she live with her father.

On Jan 28, this year, Bi-Anne’s parents failed to settle amicably via mediation concerning her custody. — Bernama