GEORGE TOWN - It will be a sweet Chinese New Year reunion for single mother Lee Xie Li as the Children's Court here has granted her custody of her five-year-old daughter after a three-year ordeal.
The court, presided by magistrate L. Umma Devi, also gave Lee's mother, 50-year-old Sia Bee Bit, joint custody of the child.
The court also ordered that Lee, 24, Sia and the child report to the Welfare Department once every two months for three years.
Lee was separated from her daughter in 2012 after she allowed her child to be taken care of by one Lim Lee Poh since she was always occupied with work.
She had understood the arrangement to be a temporary one.
However, she said she was turned away every time she wanted to meet her daughter, with Lim later claiming to have documents to show that Lee had given her daughter up for adoption to her.
The case made news on Aug 31 last year after Lee sought the help of the Penang MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau.
Lee's lawyer Lim Aun Phung said yesterday that the court also gave the right to the mother and grandmother of the child to decide whether to allow Lim to visit the girl.
"Both Lee and Sia have to inform the Welfare Department before any meetings are arranged during this three years of observation," Aun Phung, who is the state MCA legal bureau deputy chief, said after the closed-door court hearing yesterday.
Lee and Sia thanked the state MCA for their help, adding that it was the happiest news they received days before the Chinese New Year celebration.
Meanwhile, Penang MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau adviser Lim Thoon Deong advised those who wanted to adopt children to go through the proper legal channels.