Mariam Mokhtar on abused child Bella

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For every Bella that we know about, how many others are quietly being abused? What happened to the laws which protect children and vulnerable adults?

There are laws to protect children and the vulnerable, but in Malaysia, they are rarely enforced. Why? Why are they not enforced?

Is it because of money?

Money which is used to sweep things under the carpet.

Money which is used to pay thugs to threaten and harm those who want to expose a wrongdoing or someone who is being abused?

Money to grease the palm of someone in power, to not take action against the abuser?

So, why does it take an expose before everyone jumps up and down, demanding action?

Look at the tragic case of Bella, the 13-year-old with Down’s Syndrome who was abused by the founder of a care home called Rumah Bonda. The abuser is alleged to be Siti Bainun Ahmad Razali

Rumah Bonda founder, Siti Bainun Ahd Razali is seen left from Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex after attended her trials on April 20.—AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Her ordeal was not exposed at the weekend, or last week or last month. Her story was already made known in July 2021. In all that time, what did the useless Minister for Women, Rina Harun, do to take action against the care home owner, and to tighten up any loopholes with which these abusers can escape being punished.

Did Rina also ensure that all laws to protect the children, including vulnerable children and marginalised women, were intact and were strictly enforced?

Today, everyone wants to defend Bella and be her protector. They make tik tok videos, selfies, publicity stunts, organise photo shoots etc. They act as if they are the only ones who are genuinely interested in helping her.

Perhaps, some are but the rest?

Even, royalty cannot resist being dragged in and jump onto the bandwagon.

So, what does this all say?

What it also suggests is that these laws have failed us that ordinary and not so ordinary people are demanding action to protect children like Bella.

In Bella’s case, and to be fair, to all the disabled and vulnerable children in Malaysia, will it take an expose just to sort things out? What is the point of having laws then if nothing is done about enforcing them?

If the laws that are designed to protect the children do not appear to be working, why don’t we just have royalty to run the welfare and women’s ministries, sack the civil servants who are not doing their jobs, and sack the politicians who are not demanding action.

It appears that the Welfare Department went missing, and the Women’s ministry was on holiday, soon after we heard about Bella’s plight.

If you do not want other Bellas to happen, and if you know of a child or adult who is being abused, will you speak out and demand that your MP makes sure the law works. More than that, demand that he ensures that laws are enforced. We do NOT need more laws because the ones we have are probably adequate but they are NOT being enforced.

The Women’s minister is too busy with her photoshoot schedule.

The Welfare Department is too busy doing God knows what.

We have laws. It is just that the enforcement of these laws is poor. – Rebuilding Malaysia