Nursery operator charged with abusing toddler

KUALA LUMPUR - The presence of six children waiting for their mother to be charged with allegedly abusing a toddler caught the eye of those in a magistrate's court here yesterday.

The children, five girls and a boy, aged between 1 and 10, came with their father for the hearing.

The father was seen holding the youngest child.

Their mother, Rozita Awang, 35, the operator of Taska Permata Harapan in Taman Melati here, was seen wiping tears when her counsel pleaded that she be released on bail.

Rozita was charged with abusing the 1-year-old boy in a manner likely to cause him physical or emotional injury at the daycare centre at 11.35am on Oct 18.

The offence, under section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, carries a maximum fine of RM20,000 or a maximum 10 years' jail or both on conviction. Rozita pleaded not guilty.

Deputy public prosecutor Siti Aisyah Ahmad urged the court not to grant bail as Rozita was charged with a non-bailable offence.

Counsel Muhammad Syazwan Mohd Salleh asked the court to use its discretion to release Rozita on bail as his client had six small children.

"Her youngest child is still breastfeeding.

"The purpose of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused, not as punishment."

Syazwan said Rozita had been remanded for six days and had been cooperating with the police.

"Her husband, who is a taxi driver, earns about RM50 daily. He will be the bailor and he will make sure Rozita attends court proceedings."

Magistrate Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin granted bail of RM5,000 in one surety and fixed Dec 10 for mention.