Bella case: I never saw Siti Bainun taking care of the babies, say witness

KUALA LUMPUR: A legal research officer at a law firm told the Sessions Court that she had never seen Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali manage the babies in the house, and instead handed the task over to the three occupants in the house.

Suhana Zam, 40, said during the time she had been at the condominium in Wangsa Maju owned by Siti Bainun or when she went out with the latter, the three occupants of the house, namely Aida, Yasmin and Balqis, bathed and changed the disposable diapers of two babies, Tulus Jiwa and Tulus Bael.

“I myself have seen that Tulus Jiwa had skin allergies when he was small. He was not an active baby but he could creep, and he crept around under the table for almost more than an hour, and no one cared.

“Tulus Bael, meanwhile, was always injured. For example, one night, he was left to play alone until he fell and his mouth started bleeding and he cried. Aida, Yasmin and Balqis persuaded him to quiet down, and then let him (Tulus Bael) play and he fell in the same place again and bled. These children were not taken care of well, because this type of incident kept occurring and within a short period of time,” she said.

The eighth prosecution witness said this during a re-examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Azizah Mohamad in the trial against Siti Bainun on Thursday (June 16).

Suhana said she had advised Siti Bainun not to be rough with the children in the house, for example, the way the latter kissed Tulus Bael.

“I personally advised Siti Bainun when I saw her doing something that was not right, for example, she kissed Tulus Bael until he had scar marks on him, I told her ‘don’t do that, Nun (Bainun) it is painful (for the baby). Siti Bainun said ‘children with syndromes did not feel pain’.

“I saw the balcony (of the house) was not safe, there were high tables and chairs. I told her if the children climbed on them they could fall off. Siti Bainun replied “it’s okay sister, they will not climb,” she said.

Meanwhile, the witness said she was sure Bella slept in the laundry room because she had seen Siti Bainun going with Bella into the room and the woman returned without Bella, while the teenager with Down syndrome had never been seen playing in the living room with the other children.

When asked by Nor Azizah why the witness did not help clean the faeces after getting the smell from the laundry room, Suhana replied, “In Siti Bainun’s house, there seemed to be certain rules. (Only) Yasmin, Aida and Balqis took care of Bella, Tulus Bael and Tulus Jiwa.

“For as long as I was in the condominium, I myself was not allowed to do any work, not even take a glass back to the kitchen. Even if I wanted to eat, it would be arranged by them, let alone clean the faeces in the laundry room, it was not allowed,” said the witness.

Regarding the police report on Bella’s injuries, Suhana said she did not lodge a police report because it was sufficient with the report made by the first prosecution witness, Zurianty Sudin.

“Zurianty had met Bella and she lodged a police report. After I found out that Zurianty had lodged a police report, I told Zurianty that if the police wanted me to testify, I could come and testify.

“I did not agree with the (defence) lawyer when it was suggested that there was no need to make a police report, because at the time (before Zurianty filed a report) I felt it was risky to lodge a report as it could have further endangered Bella, as the time was not right and I could not be sure if Bella could be taken out of the house, “he said.

Nor Azizah: The (defence) counsel suggested that when you asked Zurianty to look at Bella’s condition, you could have called an ambulance, why didn’t you call?

Suhana: I didn’t call because I was not sure how Bella’s condition was at the time, whether she was in a serious condition or otherwise, so that’s why we agreed for Zurianty to look at Bella first.

Nor Azizah: When asked by the (defence) counsel about your testimony that (being made) to eat a lot of chilies, kept standing for a long time and having a bruise is considered something extreme, you said you agreed, why did you agree?

Suhana: I agreed that being forced to eat a lot of chilies, and being made to stand a long time were extreme acts… but about the bruise on Bella’s face, I can’t say whether that was extreme because I don’t know how the bruise occurred.

Siti Bainun, 30, pleaded not guilty to two charges of neglecting and abusing Bella, a 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome, to the point of causing the victim to suffer physical and emotional injuries.

She was charged with committing the act at a condominium in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021 under Section 31 (1) (a) of the Child Act 2001, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years or a fine of RM50,000, or both, if convicted.

The trial before Sessions Court Judge Izralizam Sanusi continues on Friday (June 16). – Bernama