Neighbour cares for alleged killer's kids

Neighbour cares for alleged killer's kids

KUALA SELANGOR - When lorry driver Vengaiah Muniady heard that his friend and former neighbour had been arrested over killing his wife in a fit of jealousy, his first thought was for the welfare of the couple's six children.

The two older children - aged 12 and 15 - was already staying with Vengaiah in Batang Berjuntai for over a year because they "did not like" staying in their own home.

So immediately after the funeral of their mother, Vengaiah also took the four younger children into his care.

"The four are so young. They were at the dinner table when their father is said to have come in and killed their mother. The oldest of the four was so distraught that first night that she couldn't sleep at all.

"Both the father and mother have brothers and sisters, but none wanted to take the children. The kids did not want to go with them either. I felt sorry for them, so my wife and I decided to take them in and raise them," he said in an interview arranged by the Welfare Department. Pugumeswaran Murugasam, 35, is accused of stabbing his 36-year-old wife Murugamal Kuppusamy to death on Oct 27 at their home near Sungai Buloh after claiming she had an affair.

Pugumeswaran had only been released from prison two weeks before that fateful day. Pugumes-waran who had been drinking before the alleged attack, surrendered at the Aman Jaya police station.

Vengaiah said he had brought the two oldest children to visit their father at the Sg Buloh prison a few times, where he is being remanded before being charged with murder.

"The father knows I am looking after his children and has given me his blessing. He was crying and told me to take good care of them."

Vengaiah earns RM2,000 (S$771) a month as a lorry driver and he and his wife Kesat Jantan live in a modest two-room house. They have four children of their own and two grandchildren. Some of his children are still living with him.

With the six children staying with him, there are now a total of 13 people staying in the house.

Earlier this month, Vengaiah approached the Welfare Department for help.

He and his wife said they would still look after the six children even if they did not get any help.

"We will manage somehow. Our own children are all grown up and I adore the children. I do not want to give up any of the six children. I love them and will take care of them," said Kesat.

On Thursday, the Welfare Department gave the family RM300 as a one-off help and school uniforms for the children.

Selangor Welfare Department director Nik Omar Nik Abdul Rahman said they would be assessing the case and acting in the best interest of the children.

The children have not had any counselling as yet after the traumatic experience.

Nik Omar said the department would also be looking into this.

Those who would like to help the children can contact the Kuala Selangor Welfare Department.

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