Rumah Bonda founder files judicial review to reopen its premises

KUALA LUMPUR: Welfare home Rumah Bonda is seeking to reopen its premises, which has been sealed off by the authorities following allegations of child abuse involving a disabled 13-year-old girl.

The home, through its founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, filed a judicial review application through Messrs Asiah Abd Jalil Law Chambers here on Friday (Aug 13).

It named the Social Welfare Department (JKM) director and the Women, Family and Community Development Minister as the first and second respondents respectively.

According to a supporting affidavit affirmed by Siti Bainun, 29, Rumah Bonda was sealed following the allegations of child abuse involving the girl, who has Down Syndrome, that became viral on social media on July 5.

"The girl has been under my care through a Children's Court order since July 14, 2020, and she was given to me in my personal capacity," Siti Bainun said.

According to Siti Bainun, she was at the hospital for Covid-19 when the girl was found at her condominium unit in a "heartbreaking condition" and a police report was lodged against her.

Following the police report and as soon as her quarantine ended, Siti Bainun said she was called to the police station to give a statement and to assist in the investigation.

"I stress that there has been no abuse or neglect involving the girl," she said.

On June 24, the girl was taken by JKM pending investigation into the abuse case and Siti Bainun lost custody of the child.

On July 9, Siti Bainun said she received a notice to inform that a sealing action on Rumah Bonda would take effect at 3pm on July 12.

Siti Bainun contended that the sealing action was influenced by public pressure as news on the girl's alleged abuse went viral.

"The sealing action on Rumah Bonda on July 12 had been carried out by the orders and knowledge of the first and second respondents unfairly, irrationally and did not adhere to reasonable administrative principles and law," she said.

Siti Bainun also said that at all material times, Rumah Bonda was in the process of registering with JKM and had worked closely with JKM in social cases.

Rumah Bonda is seeking a certiorari order to annul the sealing action by JKM on its premises located at Jalan Kukuban, Taman Setapak.

It also sought a mandamus order to compel the first and second respondents to execute the unsealing process to allow the applicant access into the premises to resume the remaining procedure in registering the home with JKM.

The applicant also wants the respondents to approve its registration to operate as a legal entity under the Care Centres Act 1993.

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