MALAYSIA - The woman who allegedly abused her daughter, causing the five-year-old to lose consciousness and die, has been charged with murder in an Ipoh court.
Choong Mee Chin, 30, allegedly committed the offence on Ho Yan Hui on Aug 12, at about 9am, at her house, The Star reported.
If convicted, she faces the death penalty.
The mother previously faced charges of abuse and causing grievous hurt.
The case was changed to one of murder after Yan Hui died on Sunday, said deputy state police chief A. Thaiveegan.
As Choong was led to the courtroom on Monday, she looked petrified and kept her head down. When asked if she understood the charge, the housewife just nodded.
Her case is expected to be mentioned in court again on Oct 25.
On Aug 15, Yan Hui was taken to Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital with no pulse on arrival, but doctors managed to resuscitate her.
The police were alerted after doctors noticed various wounds on the child.
Her parents were arrested, but only her mother was charged.
Yan Hui died some time after 2pm on Sunday at the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit.
She had been in a coma for 11 days and had never regained consciousness.
The Star quoted Perak Criminal Investigation Department chief Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim as saying: "A post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be abscess in her brain and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
"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."
Yan Hui's body was claimed by her father, who is unnamed, on Monday.
He was a figure of anguish as he sat at the hospital mortuary waiting for undertakers to prepare Yan Hui's body to be taken to a funeral parlour, The Star reported.
Choong, accompanied by state health and police officers, turned up at the Perak Ku Kong Chow Association Sanatorium on Tuesday to pay her last respects to her daughter.
Some of Yan Hui's favourite items, including Ultraman figures and a McDonald's meal, were seen on the prayer table, New Straits Times reported.
Meanwhile, executive director of social organisation Protect and Save the Children Nagasayee Malathy, commented on Yan Hui's case, saying that children with special needs and their caregivers should be given more support.
"Children with special needs should be taught life skills as a priority along with personal safety skills for self-protection," The Star quoted her as saying.
"At the same time, their parents or care providers need to be equipped with skills... to provide proper care and support."
Shelter Home for Children general manager Cheok Hoong Poh expressed shock over Yan Hui's death and stressed that nobody deserves to be abused, especially when the person is a special needs child.
Mr Cheok added that parents could discipline their children without hitting them, using measures such as "time-outs", by confiscating their toys or by grounding them.
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