PASIR GUDANG: Several neighbours of a seven-year-old boy suspected to have been abused have spoken of frequent episodes of hearing screams from him over the past two weeks, believed to have been from beatings and scoldings.
One of the neighbours, Wan Noor Badri Wan Yahya, 38, said they first noticed two women scolding the child on June 30, after the victim was believed to have run out of the house to play.
Wan Noor Badri, who lives opposite the victim’s house alleged that more such incidents happened after that. He said this had been going on since the boy’s relative and her friend rented the place in April this year.
The boy had limited interaction with other children and mostly played within his home. He was frequently left alone while the two women went to work in Singapore, Wan Noor Badri claimed.
“We considered it common for parents to scold their children, but as we increasingly heard him crying loudly almost every day we felt there was a need to intervene. Eventually, the neighbourhood association agreed to do something about it.
“I often hear the victim being scolded and hit by the woman who has a masculine appearance, whom I thought was the husband of the boy’s relative,” he said when met by reporters today.
Another neighbour, Firdaus Abu Hassan, 30, said that when members of the community entered the house to meet the women, both of them denied abusing the boy. The women raised their voices and claimed their actions were meant to discipline the child.
“However, after being questioned and confronted by many neighbours who noticed numerous bruises, scratches, and what seemed like burn marks on the victim’s body, one of the women immediately apologised.
“We contacted the police when we suspected he was being abused. We never thought something like this could happen in our neighbourhood. We are grateful that he has been rescued,” he added.
Yesterday, Johor police chief Kamarul Zaman Mamat said that a 27-year-old relative of the victim and her 30-year-old foreign friend were arrested on suspicion of abusing the child.
Several videos and images that showed members of the public entering a house to rescue a child believed to have been physically abused have been widely shared.