//Malaysian Muslim convert loses bid to cut maintenance to Hindu ex-wife: report

Malaysian Muslim convert loses bid to cut maintenance to Hindu ex-wife: report

The Associated Press, Feb 13, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A Malaysian court ordered a Muslim convert who has two new wives to support to also pay full maintenance payments to his Hindu ex-wife, a report said Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal rejected a plea by L. Ganesan, also known as Abdul Ghani Abdullah, for a reduction in his 1,000 ringgit (US$286; €238) monthly maintenance payment to A. Letchimidevi, following their divorce, national news agency Bernama said.

Ganesan had asked that the amount, which was set by a high court in July 2005, to be cut to 300 ringgit (US$86; €71), the report said.

Ganesan converted to Islam in June 1996 and separated from Letchimidevi after she refused to convert too. He later married two Muslim women, one in 1997 and in 2000, Bernama said.

Under Malaysia's Islamic laws, Muslim men are allowed to take up to four wives but they are required to treat all their wives equally.

His counsel S. J. Samuel was quoted as saying the 1,000 ringgit maintenance was excessive as Ganesan only earns 3,500 ringgit (US$1,000; €833) a month from selling mutton and has to support his two wives.

Samuel said in the report that Ganesan has given Letchimidevi his video rental business which can draw about 5,000 ringgit (US$1,428; €1,190) a month, as well as 60,000 ringgit (US$17,143; €14,286) in cash following their separation.

Ganesan, his lawyer and court officials could not be reached for comments.

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people are Malay Muslims, while ethnic Chinese account for about a quarter and Indians about 10 percent.