Half-sisters well taken care of at welfare home

JOHOR BARU: The two half-sisters who were prostituted by their mother are coping well under the care of the state Welfare Department.

The girls were placed in a welfare home on Oct 31 after being warded in a hospital, said the department’s director Datuk Daud Arbah.

“We are monitoring their progress closely, especially their health.

“They seem to be adjusting well at the new place.

“They are slowly overcoming the trauma and appear to be getting along fine with their peers in the home,” he told The Star yesterday.

Daud said the girls were also undergoing counselling with the department’s counsellor once or twice a week.

He added that the department was conducting its investigations on the case and trying to trace the girls’ fathers or next of kin.

“We expect to complete our probe by the end of the month and only then will we conclude if the girls will stay with a relative or be permanently placed under our care until they reach a mature age,” he said.

The department, said Daud, was in the midst of transferring the girls to a school nearer to the home.

“We are still observing them, so they have not gone to school (after their rescue). Nonetheless, we are already looking into transferring them,” he added.

Asked about the 10-year-old, who was said to be a slow learner, Daud said the department would enrol her in special education if the counsellor and medical reports recommended it.

Meanwhile, police said they were close to nabbing the three main suspects, all Bangladeshi men, in the case. One is the mother’s boyfriend.

At a press conference at the Kulai district police headquarters, OCPD Supt Razak Md Said said: “We have identified their hiding places and already informed several government agencies to ensure that the suspects will not leave the country.”

Seven men who were earlier arrested were charged in court with failing to possess valid working permits.