PUTRAJAYA: The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on Wednesday (Sept 20) refuted claims that a Sea Bajau baby was snatched away from a stateless mother in a hospital in Sabah.
The ministry said that checks on the claims brought up by the news portal on Sept 15 revealed it was an old case managed by a guardian from the Lahad Datu district social welfare office in 2021.
The placement of the baby with a 'Suitable and Qualified Person' was initially done via a temporary order under Paragraph 19(2)(b) of the Child Act 2001 issued by the Children's Court, while the process of identifying the parents or legal guardians was conducted.
After obtaining confirmation from the Sea Bajau village elder in Lahad Datu, the guardian offered the birth parents custody of the child. Still, they decided to hand over the child through a statutory declaration, as they could not afford to take care of the child financially and could not bear the child's medical costs and abandoned the premature baby at the Lahad Datu Hospital.
The ministry categorically stated that the claims levelled in the report were untrue.
It also said the single case was appropriately managed according to set procedures.
KPWKM said a case review session on managing such custody cases was held yesterday following the report. A police report was lodged today at the Lahad Datu district police headquarters to refute the false allegations.
"The ministry provides assurances of full cooperation with the authorities when an investigation begins," it stated, adding that it would not hesitate to take necessary action against any official should such allegations be true and happen.- Bernama