London slavery: Siti Aishah warded after suffering a stroke

JELEBU - Siti Aishah Abd Wahab, the 69-year-old Malaysian woman caught in the slavery controversy in London, has been warded for a stroke.

Niece Siti Zawiyah Othman, who revealed this yesterday, said a relative in London informed the family here that Siti Aishah was recuperating after suffering a stroke recently.

"We have been told that my aunt is in a stable condition," she said, adding that there was no information on which hospital Siti Aishah was admitted to.

Siti Zawiyah said the family hoped that British authorities would allow another aunt Kamar Mahtum Abdul Wahab, 73, to visit Siti Aishah.

Kamar Mahtum left for London on Tuesday night after it became known that the Malaysian woman, held along with two others for about 30 years, could be Siti Aishah.

"Kamar Mahtum is scheduled to return to Malaysia on Wednesday. She needs time to be with Siti Aishah to convince her to come home," Siti Zawiyah said when met at her home in Kuala Klawang near here.

Meanwhile, as more is revealed about the activities of the cult-like group in London's Lambeth district being investigated for holding the women in slavery, other far-left groups in Britain remain bemused with what had happened, reports MARTIN VENGADESAN.

In the 1960s and 1970s, larger fringe groups like the Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain and Trotskyist parties like Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and Tony Cliff's Socialist Workers Party (SWP) became increasingly disenchanted with the soft socialist approach of then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Labour.

However, the Workers Institute (WI) led by Aravindan Balakrishnan (better known as Comrade Bala), was described as "the most lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe" by the London Times in the late 1970s.

Dr Paul Flewers first came across the WI in the late 1970s. Now an independent Marxist, he was then a member of the Trotskyist group the Revolutionary Communist Party.

He recalls distributing rival newspapers and leaflets alongside the WI in Brixton.

He also remembers that most of Comrade Bala's followers were women of Asian descent.

"The WI was very hostile to other left groups. It had been banned from the meetings of other groups because of its disruptive activities (disobeying the chairman, interrupting speakers, etc)," Flewers said in an email interview.