PETALING JAYA, 28 May 2009: The Court for Children granted an interim custody for a month to the Welfare Department to take care of a five-old-boy who was allegedly abused by his 36-year-old mother.
Magistrate Nur Syafawati Arifin granted the order after two officers from the department, who are acting as the boy’s protectors, made an application this morning.
The boy and his mother, a piano teacher, were present at the court in today’s proceedings.
Media representatives were not allowed into the court room.
Woman, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who was in the court to meet the boy’s mother, told reporters that the court had allowed the woman to visit her son during the one-month custody period without imposing any conditions.
“She was still in shock that his son had been taken away and it was very heart breaking for me when I found out during a conversation with her that she actually is such a caring mother.”
“It breaks my heart to hear the mother says that she loves her son very much and I can also see that the son loves her mother,” she said.
Shahrizat said she promised the mother not to reveal the details of their conversation and would leave it to the police to investigate.
She said that the woman was a single mother after her divorce several years ago. The boy is the only child from that marriage.
Shahrizat said she would meet the boy’s father to find out what really happened.
“This case is now being investigated by the police. We should handle this case very carefully to ensure the child’s interest is protected,” she said.
A local daily reported today that the boy was rescued from his home in Puchong on Tuesday by two officers from the Welfare Department and he had been admitted to the Serdang Hospital.
Doctors who examined the boy had revealed that he had been severely abused for some time with fresh wounds on his mouth and head, besides old injury marks all over his body.
Shahrizat said the investigation was still in early stage.
She added that the two officers were currently looking after the welfare of the boy including making arrangements for him to attend kindergarten.
The minister also said she had instructed her officers to speed up their investigation to identify the culprit and facilitate the boy’s reunion with his mother or father, or any of his close relatives deemed fit to care for him.
On another note, Shahrizat told reporters that although she agreed with necessary punishment to those involved in this case, she was more in favour of rehabilitation.
“The root cause of abuse differs from case to case. Perhaps in this case the best approach will be rehabilitation,” added Shahrizat.
She pointed out that statistics compiled by the ministry showed that in most cases, the abusers were not aware that their acts tantamount to abuse. Shahrizat said last year alone a total of 985 cases of boys being abused were reported nationwide, compared with girls 1,795.
She also told reporters that her visit to the Court for Children today was to get first hand information on the proceedings and problems faced by the court in dealing with juvenile cases. — Bernama