Three young children in Johor Bahru were allegedly abandoned in the most filthy conditions while their parents were away for work
A few photos which were uploaded on social media recently depicted the sad state the children were in, as they were locked home alone in a rented room in Larkin Perdana, while their parents went to work in Gelang Patah.
According to the social media posts, they had not bathed for a few days and there was faeces all over the place.
The children, all aged under six, had apparently only eaten rice with soy sauce during that period of time.
It was reported that the incident came to light only after one of the neighbours heard the sound of plates falling, and rushed to scene to take a look at what happened.
Following the viral social media posting, the Johor Welfare Department (JKM) acted swiftly to rescue the children
It was reported that a neighbour had lodged a police report claiming that the children were neglected by their parents.
JKM took action with the help of the policemen from the Larkin district after considering that this could possibly a case of neglect by children's parents.
They went to the premises and took the children away from the rented room to a daycare centre at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
However, the children's parents have denied allegations of neglect and said that they were "set up" by a neighbour
The children's father, who wanted to be known only as Amran, explained that he and his wife, Siti, were attending a two-day course at a factory in Gelang Patah, Johor, on the day of the incident. They were supposed to attend the course before starting work as operators at an electronics factory on 4 August.
According to Amran, a neighbour, who is a housewife, had volunteered to take care of his children while he and his wife were away. He added that he had left the children under her care because the couple had regarded her as a "sister", as she said she was willing to take care of the children and was sincere in helping them.
"When we got back at 8pm (3 August), I found the three children missing and was told by the neighbour that they were with JKM."
"My youngest daughter, who is eight months old, was left with a babysitter in Kampung Melayu Majidee," the 33-year-old was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Amran, a Sabahan, said that his wife had prepared some food for the children before they left to Gelang Patah at 7am. However, they did not bathe the children since it was too early and they were still sleeping then.
"It is not true that the children only ate rice crust, contaminated with faeces because my wife had already prepared rice, fried egg, and dishes with soy sauce."
"Our eldest child, who is 6, is capable of looking after herself and also attending to her younger siblings, including cleaning them when they have to go to the toilet and it's impossible to have faeces in our rented room," he reportedly said.
Amran said that he made a police report with his wife on the matter at the police station in Larkin on 4 August.
Meanwhile, Siti said that she felt wronged by the neighbour's irresponsible act that has defamed her family
The 21-year-old woman told reporters she hoped that her family will see that they get justice and that her children will be returned to her family as soon as possible.
"I was allowed to meet my children yesterday (5 August), but I was not allowed to bring them back because it was understood that the authorities are still investigating the case."
"No matter how difficult it is, we are not willing to be separated with our own flesh and blood. We do not even have appetite to eat, and my husband could not sleep as he keeps thinking about our children," she was quoted as saying in a report by Utusan Malaysia on 6 August.
The couple were detained by the police yesterday, 6 August
The Star Online reported state police chief Comm Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, as saying that they were picked up from their homes for investigations at 10pm.
However, they were released on police bail after their statements were recorded. Wan Ahmad said that this was because the couple still have to look after their youngest child.
"The investigation paper will be handed over to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) for further action," he was quoted as saying.
Who do you think should be held responsible for what happened to the children? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.