A Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Social Welfare Department assistant officer told the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today that Bella was thin and in a state of fear when he met the girl for the first time at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) last year.
Mohamad Imran Mohamed Zanyuin, 35, said when he visited the teenager with Down syndrome on July 4, 2021, she appeared to be sad, walking with her head bowed, not looking at anyone with her hands bandaged.
“I met Bella when she was in the Covid ward and she had scars on her face. She never smiled and she looked scared,” he said during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Fazeedah Faik at the trial of Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali before judge Izralizam Sanusi.
Imran, the 12th prosecution witness, said that on June 24, 2021, Siti Bainun messaged him on WhatsApp to inform him that Bella had fallen and was scalded.
“Siti Bainun sent the message at 3.03pm and included several photographs of Bella’s injuries on her hands and head. Siti Bainun said she had gone to the hospital and bought a disinfectant spray.
“In the WhatsApp message, Siti Bainun also stated that Bella was Covid-19 positive but said she did not take her for a swab test because she was afraid that she would be questioned about Bella’s physical condition.”
He said Siti Bainun told him that the hot water had accidentally spilled on Bella two days before Hari Raya.
To Fazeedah’s question on what action was taken after Siti Bainun informed him about the hot water scalding, Imran replied: “I urged Siti Bainun to take Bella to the hospital and she said she would do so after the teenager’s quarantine ended on June 29, 2021.
“On June 24, 2021, I discussed with the other shelter workers to take Bella to the hospital and I talked to the JKM Children Unit chief the next day (June 25) and tried to get an ambulance to take Bella to the hospital.
“Siti Bainun then informed me that she has been warded at Hospital Sungai Buloh as she had tested positive for Covid-19.
“I asked Siti Bainun about Bella’s condition at home, but Siti Bainun only informed me that the other children in the house were taking care of Bella,” said Imran.
He said the first time he met Bella after she was taken care of by Siti Bainun was on Feb 17, 2021 at the Kuala Lumpur Court for Children. He said Bella looked cheerful and was seen hugging Siti Bainun.
Imran said he had never agreed to Bella being placed under Siti Bainun’s care because he did not know the woman personally and was unsure about her background.
However, Imran said the Magistrate’s Court for Children allowed Siti Bainun temporary custody from July 14 to Sept 20, 2020 while permanent custody was to begin from Sept 24, 2020.
Earlier, he said Siti Bainun had conveyed her wish to take care of the teenager to a child welfare officer known as Siti Sarah, and that based on discussions with Siti Bainun, the child was to be placed at Siti Bainun’s family residence in Ampang.
“Bella is a child with disabilities who needs to be supervised by others besides Siti Bainun and family support is important in ensuring that her safety is always maintained,” he said.
He said Bella was placed at Taman Sinar Harapan Tuanku Ampuan Najihah Seremban from 2011 to 2020 before Siti Bainun took care of her, adding that Bella stopped schooling when she was under Siti Bainun’s care.
Siti Bainun, 30, faces two charges of neglecting and abusing the 13-year-old 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, framed under Section 31 (1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000, imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both, upon conviction.
The trial before judge Izralizam continues.