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Mounting Criticism Over Handling Of Bella, Rina Harun Insists Her Ministry Did What They Could

Mounting Criticism Over Handling Of Bella, Rina Harun Insists Her Ministry Did What They Could

Rina is being accused of using Bella to boost her own image.

Fernando Fong

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The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) denies being careless in the case of Bella, the teenage girl with Down syndrome who was abused.

Its Minister, Datuk Seri Rina Harun, said that the actions taken were to deprive the adopted child’s right of custody to the founder of Rumah Bonda, Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, last year.

She said, apart from that, they also confiscated the care home and issued a compound in July last year.

We have given emotional guidance because Bella is quite traumatized; we need to make sure she is healthier in terms of physical and emotional condition.

Datuk Seri Rina Harun on what her ministry is doing to help Bella.

Her ministry is also tightening the law for eligible and suitable people when it comes to child custody.

Several amendments have been implemented so that things like this do not happen again, she said.

READ MORE: Rina Harun Slammed By Netizens For Photo Op With Bella, They Say That She’s Not Doing Her Job

Netizens poured cold water on Rina’s pavement cleaning ‘stunt’ in 2021.

On why she had been silent on the issue, Rina said it was to safeguard the well-being and safety of the teenager.

She said there are things which had not been made known, but it does not mean that her ministry has not done anything nor take any action.

We need to save Bella and ensure her well-being; we also want the perpetrators to be punished accordingly.

Datuk Seri Rina Harun explaining that her ministry had been looking out for Bella all along.

Netizens have continued to accuse Rina and her ministry of neglect over the handling of Bella.

Rina had also been accused of riding on the issue to boost her image.

READ MORE: Rina Harun Bullied Online: Offensive Edits Made To The Women’s Minister’s Wikipedia Page

Children Court Adviser Is Co-Founder Of Rumah Bonda

In a related development, the online petition to sack Syed Azmi Alhabshi as court adviser on child issues for the Kuala Lumpur courts has gotten over 111,000 signatures.

The petition also urged Rina’s ministry to end the appointment of the social activist as trustee of the National Welfare Foundation (YKN).

Netizens felt that Syed Azmi should no longer be organizing charity activities and fundraising through community donations.

Senator Ras Adiba Radzi, who represents the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) community in the Dewan Negara, was among those who supported the move.

Ras Adiba said it was due to integrity issues and conflicts of interest involving Syed Azmi as the latter is co-founder of Rumah Bonda, where Bella was housed.

She said the matter will be brought to the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Syed Azmi is a social activist passionate about doing charity and community work.

The cases he handled received the attention of many parties, ranging from cases involving families to fighting for the rights and fate of children and adolescents.

He also looked into the issue of discarding and selling babies and paedophilia.

Syed Azmi was appointed as the Children Court of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur adviser on 12 October 2021 under Subsection 11 (2) of the Children Act 2001 (Act 611).

The role of the Children Court adviser is to advise the court or the Children Court Magistrate.

Magistrates are also required to obtain and record the opinion of each adviser before a sentence is meted out to a child offender.


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