Toddler’s death: No record of abuse, say welfare officers

Asiah-Md-Ariff-jkn-babyJOHOR BAHRU: The Social Welfare Department (JKM) has not recorded any abuse cases involving Muhammad Al Fateh Abdullah, aged 21 months, who died yesterday after he was suspected to have been mistreated by his foster parents.

State Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Asiah Md Ariff said JKM had conducted the investigation on the foster family of the victim in April.

Fateh was admitted to the Sultanah Nora Ismail Hospital (HSNI), Batu Pahat, on Sunday.

“It was the last time JKM looked into the victim and his foster family’s condition. An investigation was conducted from April 6 to 9 after Fateh was admitted to HSNI with breathing difficulties.

“The hospital’s examination record on Nov 13 last year stated that there was a crack in the victim’s right arm and he was also suspected to be suffering from tuberculosis.

“HSNI informed JKM about the conditions and JKM followed it up with an investigation on his foster family,” Asiah told reporters here today.

According to Asiah, JKM then made the decision to take the victim into custody to give him protection, but his foster family appealed that they be allowed to look after him, promising not to neglect him.

“According to the hospital’s statement, the crack was from an old injury and there was no element of abuse.

“So, after four days of investigation, we returned Fateh to his foster family after taking their appeal into consideration.

“JKM visited the victim’s foster family and did not find any element of abuse. Fateh’s foster parents also have seven children, aged from one to 14 years, and they all received equal attention,” he said.

He said Fateh’s adoptive parents were traders and the toddler had been legitimately given away by his biological parents to his foster parents.

“Fateh actually required continuous treatment following his respiratory and coughing problems. For the record, the victim had been admitted to the hospital four times from November 2016 until July this year.

“Based on the statement by the victim’s foster parents, Fateh was very active. They also kept several videos and pictures of the victim’s antics.

“JKM had also informed the victim’s natural parents about his condition. His mother was on the way when he was confirmed dead,” Asiah said.

Fateh was admitted to the HSNI Children’s intensive care unit in a critical condition on Sunday after he was allegedly abused by his foster parents. There, he depended fully on respiratory equipment.

The child died at 12.45pm yesterday and a post-mortem was conducted on him today.