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Probe Finds No Proof Of Abuse

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BUTTERWORTH: Authorities found no signs of abuse or misconduct in Pertubuhan Kebajikan Da Zhi Jiang Tang in Taman Kimsar here as alleged in a police report last month.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the Welfare Department conducted a thorough investigation and found no evidence of abuse.

Chew said the home, which had yet to register with the Welfare Department, would be able to register itself once the relevant paperwork was completed.

“We are seeking assistance from the local authority to allow transfer of the building’s residential status to that of a non-profit business premises so that it can save on licence fees,” Chew said after visiting the home yesterday.

Established in 2014, the home currently cares for 15 children aged between 16 months and 14 years, who are either orphans or children of single parents. Da Zhi Jiang Tang Association, which owns the home, is registered with the Registrar of Societies.

The home’s principal Choo Ai Ling expressed disappointment over the police report lodged last month which prompted the authorities to leap into action and inspect the association.

“The children were traumatised when police raided our home.

“Donations from the public have also reduced drastically, as people lost faith in our welfare service after news of the alleged abuse surfaced,” she said.

On Aug 11, a police report was lodged by DAP Berapit assemblyman Lydia Ong Kok Foo’s assistant Tan Liang Hong, 29, alleging that the children at the home were being mistreated.

In the report, Tan said Ong had told him that she was informed that the home had physically and sexually abused some of the children.

Following the report, police visited the home to investigate the allegations.

Ong, also present, said she regretted her hasty decision last month as she had not checked before the report was lodged.

Ong told the home’s management that as an assemblyman, she could not turn a blind eye to complaints of child abuse.

Chew said there were 91 registered welfare centres in Penang while 54 on the island and 30 on the mainland had been identified but had yet to register with the Welfare Department.

She advised the public to lodge reports with the Welfare Department first if they suspect any misconduct in welfare homes before highlighting the matter to the police and media.

Also present were Penang MCA secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong and Welfare Department director Said Sidup.


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