Baby kidnapping duo may undergo mental checks

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia: Psychiatric evaluation is being sought for two women charged in a Sessions Court here with two counts of kidnapping and trafficking a seven-month-old girl.

Counsel Sukhindarpal Singh, representing the women under the National Legal Aid Foundation, applied for them to undergo psychiatric evaluation, saying there were discrepancies in the instructions he received from them.

Clerk Zuzita Ahmad, 44, and shop assistant Ooi Hooi Ling, 37, are jointly charged with kidnapping the baby, who was under her grandmother's care, at a flat in Lorong Lembah Ria 1, Taman Happy Valley in Air Itam at around 3.30pm on Dec 12 last year.

The offence under Section 363 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail term of seven years and a fine upon conviction.

They had also claimed trial to trafficking the child for the purpose of exploitation at a longhouse surau in Tanjung Tokong around 5pm the same day.

The offence under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 carries a jail term of between three and 20 years as well as a fine.

Sessions judge Zulhazmi Abdullah fixed April 2 for case management.

DPP S. Selvaranjini prosecuted the case.

When the duo were first charged on Dec 19 last year, the court did not allow them bail.

It was reported on Dec 14 that the baby was kidnapped from her grandmother's house when two women, one of whom was believed to be a friend and former housemate of the grandmother, took the baby out of the house on the pretext of going for a stroll.

The baby's 54-year-old grandmother lodged a police report when her friend failed to return with the baby after half an hour and could not be reached by phone.

The baby was rescued within 24 hours by police from a house in Balik Pulau following a tip-off.