BUTTERWORTH: A five-year-old girl who was allegedly abused by her mother is starting life anew on a bright note after the High Court granted a close relative custodial rights to the child.
“I like it here (very much).
“My relatives play with me and buy me sweets, chocolate and new toys.
“They also took me to KFC and McDonald’s,” she told her visitors, which also included MIC central committee member J. Dhinagaran, at her new home here, on Thursday night.
Dhinagaran said the child looked more cheerful than when he last saw her at the children’s home in Kepala Batas.
“She looks happy, active and healthy,” said Dhinagaran, who brought a basket of goodies for the girl and gave RM1,500 to the foster family.
He also took the opportunity to urge the relative to provide the child with a good education.
The girl was placed at the Taman Bakti Children’s Home after she was believed to have been abused by her mother at their house in Kampung Manis, Prai.
She was also admitted to the Seberang Jaya Hospital with bruises on her back, left eye and two broken teeth.
On May 18, the Penang High Court granted full custody to the child’s close relative.
The child’s mother, Malathi Raman, 41, claimed trial in a Sessions Court here to abusing her daughter under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, which carries a maximum fine of RM20,000, a jail term of up to 10 years or both upon conviction.
She is currently on bail awaiting trial.
The child’s relatives have requested privacy for the time being and declined to have photos of the child taken.
During her stay in the hospital, the girl was accompanied by her grandmother.
The hospital limited visitors to only those with authorisation letters from the police.
At that time, even her direct family members were not allowed entry into the paediatric ward to visit her.