De facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong said today that the government cannot be asked to intervene in M Indira Gandhi's search for her nine-year-old daughter who had been taken away by her estranged ex-husband.
Liew told The Malaysian Insight that since Indira took up the case against her former spouse, it is on her to again initiate legal proceedings to find her daughter, despite being granted custody by the Federal Court.
"This case, cannot really ask for the government to interfere because this is a litigation matter taken up by the mother against the ex-husband.
"I will have to ask the attorney-general (Tommy Thomas) about this issue. The decision made by the court was that custody of the child be given to the mother.
"If there is no compliance on that particular order, it would seem like a case of contempt of court," the minister was quoted as saying.
Indira (photo) has been fighting to be reunited with her youngest child for almost a decade, stemming from a 2009 incident when her ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah unilaterally converted their three children.
Riduan took away the youngest child, Prasana Diksa, when she was just 11 months old.
The last time the anguished mother saw her child was at a solitary court appearance eight years ago.
Riduan had initially been granted custody of the child by the Syariah Court, but the civil High Court granted custody to Indira.
The civil High Court issued an arrest warrant against Riduan in 2014, but his and Prasana's whereabouts remain unknown to date.
Earlier this year, the Federal Court nullified the conversion of all three of Indira's children to Islam, ruling that permission is needed from both parents before changing the faith of the child.
Indira's lawyer at the time, M Kulasegaran, stated that the ruling was clear in that inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun must be the one to serve committal proceedings on Indira's former husband.
"Failing which, we will make an application to the High Court of Ipoh to force the IGP to take the necessary action," he said at the time.
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang had also called on Fuzi to resign if he failed to reunite Indira with Prasana.
However, the case has seen no developments, despite Perak Criminal Investigation Department senior assistant commissioner Yahya Abdul Rahman assuring in July that police were still on the hunt for Riduan.
'Is she alive?'
In an emotional open letter published last week, Indira pleaded for updates on her daughter from Fuzi and the new Pakatan Harapan government.
"Where are they? Is Prasana alive? Is she well? As her mother, I do not know these things which I rightfully should. Why? Because the authorities have yet to tell me anything about her.
"My new Malaysia is the day my daughter is returned to me. So to the IGP and the Harapan government – how long more?" her letter read.
According to TMI, Kulasegaran has again urged the IGP to explain the matter.
"The IGP himself can make an announcement what needs to been done. I urge the IGP in the new Malaysia to come out and explain."
Kulasegaran added that as a current member of the cabinet, he himself can no longer be directly involved in the case, and that it would be "improper to interfere in another minister’s portfolio".