Saturday, July 2, 2022

Siti Bainun held Bella’s chin, forced her to eat chilli-laden fried rice, court hears

Witness Suhana Zam says she also saw a palm-sized bruise on Bella's face during a visit in June last year.

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A witness told the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court that she saw Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali holding Bella’s chin and forcing the girl with Down syndrome to eat fried rice mixed with a lot of chillies.

Suhana Zam, 40, a legal research officer at a law firm, told the court that she was sitting at a dining table in a condominium unit in Wangsa Maju, owned by Siti Bainun, when the incident took place in May 2021.

“Bella was standing facing Siti Bainun in front of the refrigerator and there was a wooden bench there. I saw Bainun put a plate of fried rice and a lot of cut chilli, much more than the fried rice.

“She (Siti Bainun) mixed the fried rice, she held Bella’s chin and forced Bella to eat it. Bella refused but was forced to eat.

“I was surprised to see Bella was treated like that. I didn’t say anything because at that time I didn’t want to confront Bainun face to face, because I was worried about her reaction if confronted,” said Suhana during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Nor Azizah Mohamad at Siti Bainun’s trial.

In previous proceedings, Rumah Bonda resident Yasmin Nahar Mahmood, 18, told the court that Bella had been fed a pot of rice mixed with vinegar, turmeric, salt, soy sauce, chilli and chilli flakes, as well as rotten fried chicken, by Siti Bainun during the fasting month.

Meanwhile, Suhana said she saw a palm-sized bruise on the right side of Bella’s face when she went to Siti Bainun’s house on June 13, 2021.

“I went to Bainun’s house because Bainun invited me to eat king crabs in ‘shell out’ style. When I arrived at the house at 5pm, I saw Bella’s hair was cut short and she was wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Bella looked scared and there was a bruise the size of a palm on the right side of her face. That was Bella’s worst condition I’ve ever seen,” said the witness.

The eighth prosecution witness said that during her stay at the house, she saw that Bella’s meal times were irregular, and whenever the teenager was punished by being forced to stand for hours by Siti Bainun, she did not see anyone giving the girl any food or drink.

To Nor Azizah’s question about Bella’s condition when the teenager was not given food or drink for hours, Suhana said that the teenager stood alone and could not speak.

Suhana added that Siti Bainun told her that Bella was not allowed to drink or she would urinate.

“I wanted to give food and drink to Bella but I wasn’t sure if my actions would anger Siti Bainun. I was also scared of not following the house rules. It was Siti Bainun’s house,” she said.

Suhana also said that Siti Bainun’s house was not easily accessible as entrance to the condominium lobby required a bar code.

Siti Bainun, 30, faces two counts of neglecting and abusing the girl, causing her to suffer physical and emotional injuries.

She is charged with committing the offences at a condominium in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021. The charge was framed under Section 31 (1) (a) of the Child Act 2001, and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of RM50,000, or both, upon conviction.

The trial, before judge Izralizam Sanusi continues.

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