IPOH - The mother of five-year-old Ho Yan Hui, who died after 11 days in a coma as a result of suspected abuse, has been charged with murder at a magistrate's court here.
Housewife Choong Mee Chin, 30, was charged with committing the offence at her house in Laluan Kledang Utara 7, Menglembu on Aug 12 at about 9am.
The offence under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death sentence.
Choong, who appeared terrified and kept her head down when being led from the lock-up to the courtroom, meekly nodded her head when a court interpreter asked if she understood the charge. No plea was recorded from Choong after the charge was read to her in Cantonese.
Magistrate Nor Haslinda Raof set Oct 25 for mention.
On Aug 15, Yan Hui's father took her to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital here. She had no pulse on arrival but was resuscitated.
The attending physician alerted police after noticing bruises and lacerations on the girl's head and body and her parents were subsequently arrested. However, only Choong was charged with voluntarily causing grievous hurt and child abuse.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari, the two other charges brought against Choong under Section 325 of the Penal Code and Section 31(1) of the Child Act 2001 would be dropped.
Earlier at a press conference, state CID chief Senior Asst Comm Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said Yan Hui had died without regaining consciousness at the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit at 2.10pm last Sunday.
"A post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be abscess in her brain and septicaemia.
"Our investigations show that she was a special child. She was being punished for misbehaving but did not make any noise when caned, and later developed a fever," SAC Mohd Dzuraidi said.
Yan Hui's body was claimed by her father at 12.50pm yesterday.
Arriving alone at the hospital mortuary, he sat with his face buried in his hands as undertakers prepared the girl's body to be taken to a funeral parlour in Jalan Masjid here.
Undertakers placed joss paper, various sets of children's clothing as well as a ball and an Angry Birds backpack into her tiny coffin before driving off with it.
Yan Hui's remains are expected to leave for the Kek Lok Seah crematorium in Bercham at 1pm today after her funeral.