London slavery: Tearful reunion for Siti Aishah and sister

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian woman rescued after being enslaved by a Maoist group for 30 years has met her sister, Kamar Mahtum Abdul Wahab, in London in a tearful reunion.

The former teacher gave Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab a prayer rug and several sarong amongst other things she brought with her from Malaysia.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Britain Datuk Seri Zakaria Sulong said the reunion went well, adding that he sent an officer to accompany Kamar, 73, during her meeting with Siti Aishah, 69, on Thursday night.

"Kamar also suggested that Siti Aishah write to some of the family members she could remember. Her memory is failing her but she remembers her immediate family," he said.

Zakaria said the High Commission had offered both Kamar and Siti Aishah assistance as part of its consular duties, adding that Scotland Yard had agreed to the meeting on humanitarian grounds.

However, he said the High Commission could not reach out to Siti Aishah directly as she is under police custody but had told her to communicate via the police if she required any assistance.

"We hope there will be other opportunities but it depends on the police," Zakaria said.

The High Commission, he added, was ready to help Siti Aishah if she was still Malaysian and wanted to return to Malaysia.

Siti Aishah had severed all ties with her family in the 1980s and it is believed that the relationship suffered because of her involvement with a Maoist organisation run by her alleged captor Aravindan Balakrishnan and his partner Chanda Pattni.

Her niece Siti Zawiyah Othman told The Star that a relative in London had informed the family in Malaysia that Siti Aishah was recuperating after suffering a stroke recently.

Siti Aishah was one of the three women who were rescued on Oct 25 from what is believed to be 30 years of slavery in the Lambeth district.

In earlier reports by The Telegraph, Kamar Mahtum had read a letter addressed to Siti Aishah, professing the family's love for her and their hopes to be reunited.

"I hope the letter and the fact that I came here to London will make my sister realise that she is loved by her family. It is my dream and sincere hope that we will soon be reunited and we can catch up on all the years we have lost," Kamar Mahtum was quoted as saying.