After death of sexually abused infant, DPM wants heavier punishments for child rapists.
Noraihan Ab Aziz, the mother of the nine-month-old baby who died due to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her caretaker’s husband in Seksyen 16, Bandar Baru Bangi, on Friday, was shocked when she was told that the woman who was supposed to be the caretaker did not care for her baby at all! Instead, it was the husband who had been taking care of the infant.
“I did not know my baby was not being taken care of by the woman who claimed she was the caretaker. The one who took care of my baby was her husband!” the devastated 22-year-old mother cried
The police informed Noraihan that the man had been taking care of Nur Muarzara Ulfa Muhammad Zainal or Zara, since day one because he considered his wife to be ‘slow’.
“When she first approached me, the woman convinced me that she would take care of my children. She said she’s also a mother of a young son. I never expected it to end this way.
“All this while, I was under the impression that the woman was the one taking care of my child. I had no idea that it was her husband! I met him whenever I drop my children off or pick them back. He always had a very serious face,” added Noraihan.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Noraihan recounted how her heart sank when a doctor called her from the hospital to notify the severity of Zara’s condition.
She said she had been sending her two children, Muhamad Alif Zamani, a son aged five, and Zara, to the caretaker since September, after the woman approached her on Facebook for a fee of RM550 for each child.
About two weeks ago, Noraihan noticed bruises on Zara’s arms, thighs and forehead.
“Initially, I was reluctant to send her there again. I even brought it up with the caretaker but she told me that her one-year-old son had accidentally bitten her. Zara also refused to drink milk because of her swollen lips and gums.
“After that, my husband and I decided to send Zara to my husband’s sister in Klang. But Zara cried a lot over there, so we had no choice but to bring her back to the woman,” she said, adding that Wednesday was the first day she sent Zara back to the caretaker.
On that fateful morning, while she was at work, she texted the caretaker and asked about her baby.
“The woman assured me that Zara was calm around her, but would cry when the husband carried her. Otherwise, she said everything was under control. A few hours later, I got a call from the hospital,” she said, as her voice cracked and she was close to tears.
The child was rushed to the Serdang Hospital on Wednesday after she allegedly choked on a piece of apple, before she died at the hospital on Friday morning.
“I feel heartsick whenever I think about what he has done to my baby. I really want to see the person responsible to be severely punished. This is a difficult time for us, and we have accepted Zara’s death as fate. But we want to seek justice,” Noraihan said.
“As long as Zara’s case is not settled, as long as the offender is not punished, I will not feel calm,” she added.
Noraihan had earlier expressed her grief on Facebook, posting the status: “You’re in peace there my dear… Wait for mother in heaven…” She also shared several photos of her with Zara, including the time she was treated in hospital and those of the baby’s funeral.
Noraihan said she was contacted by the Serdang Hospital on Wednesday (Nov 7) evening, informing her that the baby was in critical condition after being brought there by the caretaker and her husband.
“The caretaker had called me five times, but my phone was out of coverage range at the time.
“Upon arriving at the hospital, I found the babysitter feeling very sorry, but her husband was just calm as if nothing had happened,” she said.
According to Noraihan, she came to know the babysitter two months ago, when she uploaded a status on Facebook looking for someone to take care of Zara, and the latter contacted her, offering daycare service.
“I went to see her, and from the way she spoke to me, I saw nothing suspicious. However, at the time, the babysitter’s husband and 20-month-old son were not at home,” she said.
Though she realises that nothing can bring her daughter back now, she hopes that her ordeal can serve as a lesson to other parents, so that they are more careful in choosing a babysitter.
Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Ahmad Dzaffir Mohd Yussof said the babysitter and her husband have been arrested.
He said a post-mortem showed that the cause of death was a blunt force trauma to the head.
“There were clear signs of physical and sexual abuse.
“Further examination on the victim found a tear on the victim’s hymen, and a subsequent examination found that the victim’s anus was also torn,” he said.
“We arrested the babysitter and her husband, aged 28 and 36.
“The husband who worked as a barber has been remanded until Nov 13,” ACP Ahmad Dzaffir said, adding that the man tested positive for methamphetamine.
“There were also bruises found on the top left and right sides of the victim’s head,” he said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail expressed her horror today at the case, condemning the perpetrator as “despicable” and calling for him to be hauled to court and justice meted.
“It is despicable I cannot comprehend why somebody would do that to a baby, even if he was tested positive on drugs.
“It is a heinous crime and raises the question on what has our humanity left us.
“This must be brought to justice and there should be a hefty penalty,” she told reporters.
Rape resulting in death under Section 376 (4) of the Penal Code sentences the death penalty by a trial judge upon conviction of an accused.
However, the Pakatan Harapan government had recently pledged to repeal any law with mandatory death sentences.
The babysitter responsible for the baby’s care was unregistered. Wan Azizah reiterated her call for parents to send their children to registered care centres.