A welfare home in Gombak has come under scrutiny over allegations of sodomy, abuse and child labour by the children living there which saw the couple in charge hauled in for questioning by the police earlier this week.
FMT understands that the centre housed about 35 children from underprivileged families along with several senior citizens and single mothers.
It entered the limelight after some of the children claimed in videos filmed by an NGO against child sex abuse that they had been sodomised by the couple’s nephew, beaten or forced into labour.
A member of the public made nine such videos, all of which were viewed by FMT.
One of the children also told FMT that some of his friends had warned him about the nephew who is said to be in his mid-20s.
He said they told him the nephew had sodomised them, while another told FMT he had to fight off the nephew’s advances when they were alone in the same room one night.
Yet another said he had seen the nephew beat another child but was too afraid to say anything about it as the nephew had threatened him with violence.
Similar accounts came from a woman who had stayed at the home for 10 days with her three-year-old daughter.
She said the children told her they had been sodomised for the last few years by the couple’s nephew.
Child labour allegations
They also told her they were forced to work for 15 hours each day, doing chores such as packaging anchovies for sale or folding ang paos (red packets). If they did not complete their assigned duties, they said, they were caned by the couple.
The woman, who said she had witnessed their abuse herself, lodged a police report at the district police headquarters.
But when FMT spoke with the couple, they said the matter of sodomy was “an old issue” that had already been investigated by the police and the welfare department (JKM).
They also claimed it was “not possible” that their nephew, who helped them look after the children, had committed such acts against them.
“He was very strict with the kids, maybe that’s why they misunderstood him,” they said.
They added that he was now working elsewhere as they told him late last year that the arrangement was not working out.
They also said they would cooperate fully with the police, who declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing.
Lawyer Nithiya Thiahhan from Child Guard Malaysia insisted that the children’s claims were “definitely real”.
“We have to believe children when they say they have been sexually abused,” she said.
“These videos are admissible as evidence in court.”
The NGO also said that the couple had called the children’s parents and told them to come take them home.
A woman who had four children at the centre said she was surprised to get the call but had gone there straight away.
“JKM took my kids out of that home late last year after similar claims, but when I asked them about it, they said it wasn’t true.
“I asked them about it again today, and it all came out. They were telling me about children getting sodomised and beaten.
“I’m in shock,” she said. – FMT