Claims she has been receiving harsh criticism and even a death threat, and has lost her job.
Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, who is facing charges of neglecting and abusing a Down Syndrome girl known as Bella, was ordered by the Sessions Court to enter defence even without being represented by any lawyer.
The order was made by Judge Izralizam Sanusi after he decided that the defence proceedings must go on so as not to disrupt the course of the case.
“The court has absolute discretion to allow or reject the application for postponement. In this case, I have to use my wise discretion. So today, we will begin with you reading your witness statement, which has been received by the prosecution.
“I have taken into account that your statement comes in approximately 200 pages, and I believe that the reading of the statement will take two days. I am also concerned about your right to be represented by a lawyer. So, I will postpone the cross-examination by the deputy public prosecutor (DPP).
“You have given your word to have a lawyer appointed within a month.
“As the hearing date was set for Feb 20, I am sure the DPP can do their cross-examination with you having a lawyer by then,” he said, according to Bernama.
When the judge asked whether she had filed a complaint to the Malaysian Bar against all five of her lawyers who withdrew themselves from her case, Siti Bainun said that she had not because they were still helping her prepare documents relating to the proceedings.
She also told the court that she has been receiving harsh criticism and even a death threat since the case went viral.
The 31-year-old said she had also lost her job as the shelter home had been ordered to close and her restaurant had also been boycotted.
“But there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. I was called to enter my defence on the unproven allegations and was criticised because of Zurianty Sudin’s action in spreading an edited video of Bella.
“Even the two investigating officers could not hear clearly (what was said in) the video recorded by Zurianty. I don’t understand why the investigating officers could say there was no need to see and hear the video which is the basis of their investigation.
“If they could just listen and produce a transcript, the trial and investigation and even the charges will definitely not be prejudiced against me,” she said when reading her witness statement.
Siti Bainun said she lost everything due to the baseless allegations made against her and she also would not dare to go out due to the threats she received.
“When I sought medical treatment at a hospital, even the nurses tried to harm me, which prompted my lawyers to interfere to ensure my safety,” she said.
The woman was seen shedding tears as her statement touched on her friendship with Zurianty, who is the prosecution’s first witness.
“In 2017, Zurianty and her two children came and lived with me in my condominium in Wangsa Maju because she had no place to stay after she and her second husband got divorced. She later rented a unit at the same condominium as her children wanted to be close to me.
“I pity her, and I love her children. That’s why I didn’t mind having her staying at my house,” she said.
Siti Bainun said if Zurianty really meant to save Bella, she would not have played the abused-child-with-disabilities sentiment to get public attention and provoke anger among the netizens, knowing that the people would hate and condemn her.
“When Bella was handed over back to the JKM (Social Welfare Department), Zurianty posted on Facebook about how much she pitied Bella, but in reality, she never wanted to adopt Bella, she only used Bella for her Facebook content.
“In fact, when the case came out, she tried to be a hero and wanted to adopt one of the children under my custody, known as Jane, and not Bella,” she said.
On Bella’s injuries, Siti Bainun said she was made to understand that Balqis, another occupant of Rumah Bonda, had a fight with Bella and the two had run from the living all to the kitchen and laundry area where the thermos was placed.
“Yasmin (another occupant of Rumah Bonda) interfered and accidentally hit the kitchen shelf, causing the thermos on the shelf, with hot water in it, to fall on Bella,” she said.
Siti Bainun said during the incident, she was not at home.
However, she said she had taken Bella to a clinic for treatment, but there were no new injuries as that was the only incident involving the girl.