IPOH - A woman desperate for money agreed to part with her eight-month-old baby for two days in return for a loan of RM3,500 (S$1,400).
Two months on, K. Kanagavali is still trying to get her baby back from one Norhidayu Badrol, who is said to be demanding full repayment of the loan before she returns the boy.
The 31-year-old mother of five from Malim Nawar wanted the money to settle 15 traffic summonses of her express bus driver husband, which were preventing him from working.
Norhidayu from Puchong has in-laws in Malim Nawar and is a close friend of Kanagavali's neighbour, who sometimes took care of the baby during weekends.
Norhidayu, who often visited the neighbour, apparently became attached to the child. When she heard of Kanagavali's predicament, she made the offer through the neighbour, and arranged for the "deal" to be conducted in the Malim Nawar police station.
Kanagavali said the first time she met Norhidayu was at the station on May 15.
"I handed over my baby and she handed over the money in front of a police inspector," she said here.
When her baby was not returned after two days, she started to worry but was unable to get in touch with Norhidayu, she said.
"Norhidayu told my neighbour to ask me to return her money before she hands over my child," Kanagavali said at the press conference arranged by Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam at the Perak DAP headquarters here yesterday.
She said her husband only recently got his job back after the summonses were settled, and she was ready to pay the amount owed to Norhidayu in instalments.
"Right now I have RM1,000 that I can pay back. The rest of the amount we will settle monthly, but please just return my son."
Kanagavali said she lodged a report at the Malim Nawar police station on June 23 after all attempts to get her boy back failed.
Sivasubramaniam said the inspector who witnessed the "transaction" told him that he had tried but failed to contact Norhidayu.
"In the first place, how can such a deal be carried out in front of a policeman? He should know the law better," he added.
When contacted, Kampar OCPD Ng Kong Soon said both parties had lodged four reports.