Mum pleads not guilty to abusing 5-year-old

Choong Mee Chin who pleaded not guilty to the counts of abuse.

IPOH - A housewife has pleaded not guilty in a magistrate's court here to two counts of abusing and causing grievous hurt to her five-year-old daughter who remains in a coma at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.

Choong Mee Chin, 30, who looked calm, claimed trial to both charges before magistrate Suhaima Mohd Noor yesterday.

She was alleged to have abused her daughter at about 9am on Aug 12 in the living room of her house at No 19, Laluan Kledang Utara 7, Taman Wang, Menglembu, by hitting the toddler's head and body with a cane.

Choong, who was charged under Section 31(1) of the Child Protection Act, now faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to RM20,000 (S$7,688) or both.

She was also accused under Section 325 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt at the same time and place, and could be sentenced up to seven years in jail, as well as a fine.

Allowing Choong a RM10,000 bail with one surety, Suhaima also ordered her not to go near her daughter and for her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta.

Earlier, her counsel Chong Kok Yew said that she was willing to plead guilty to the charge under the Child Protection Act should the second charge be withdrawn.

He said that Choong had admitted to caning her daughter on her legs and hands but not on the head as alleged.

"She is also suffering from mental depression and has requested to be sent for observation," he said.

DPP Muhammad Fauzi Yuso said that the case was of public interest and had gained huge media attention.

Both Choong and her 39-year-old husband, who was a welder, had earlier been arrested and remanded for abusing their daughter. However, it was learnt that the husband would now be made a witness.