BUKIT MERTAJAM: A magistrate’s court here fixed April 23 to hear an application by the parents of five children rescued in a baby trafficking ring to be released to them.
Magistrate Arif Mohamed Shariff fixed the date after granting the state Welfare Department a month’s time to prepare necessary reports before hearing the application.
Earlier, lawyer Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir sought for a shorter period for the department to prepare the reports, which will contain details of the department’s investigations into the case as well as the background of the five parents.
Nizam Bashir said the children, aged between three months and three-and-a-half years old, had been “separated” from their parents for over two months since Jan 16.
On that day, the department was first granted an interim protection order to take care of the children from Jan 16 to Jan 29.
Subsequently, the court gave the department a full protection order from Jan 29 until April 29.
Nizam Bashir told the court that keeping the children away from their parents for a long time was not in their best interest.
Magistrate Arif said he believed a month’s time was reasonable for the department to prepare the reports.
He said if he granted a shorter time, the department might later seek for an adjournment to ask for more time to prepare the reports.
Speaking to reporters later, Nizam Bashir said the five infants were placed in a welfare home in Johor Baru, while their parents were staying in Penang and Taiping, Perak.