No clues yet in abandoned baby girl case

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds


THE newborn girl found abandoned at Kg Sg Bakong in Lumut on Monday is still at the Suri Seri Begawan Hospital in Kuala Belait, and the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) said there have been no leads in the investigation to date.

According to the RBPF spokesperson, the baby girl is a child of the state now, and the Community Development Department (JAPEM) under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, will look into her welfare including finding a suitable carer for her.

The infant was found wrapped in a sarong placed on a table near a stall, and weighed 2.02 kg.

JAPEM Acting Director, Hjh Noridah Abdul Hamid said since the baby was born prematurely, the hospital will take care of her medical, health and nutritional needs until she is fit for release.

She said JAPEM has also given assistance in providing necessary essentials for the baby, like baby formula, diapers, clothes and others.

“Once the baby is fit for release, she will be provided with temporary shelter at one of our welfare homes in Bandar, where she will be taken care of until suitable foster parents are identified to adopt the baby,” she said.

Hjh Noridah added assessments of suitable foster parents will be decided by the Action Team on Child Protection (ATOCP), which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, and its members from the Ministry of Health, Attorney General’s Chambers, Ministry of Education, RBPF, Ministry of Religious Affairs and JAPEM as the secretariat.

The acting director said as cases of abandoned babies are not prevalent in Brunei, it is unfortunate to learn of this case. However, she assured the baby will be given due care and protection by relevant authorities.

She said JAPEM advised the public, especially the youth to think carefully and exercise caution to avoid being involved in vulnerable situations that would result in social ills such as unwanted pregnancies.

“Choose your friends wisely and seek positive company who can help you through difficult and challenging times. Islam does not condone promiscuity and sexual relations outside the sanctity of marriage is strictly prohibited,” she said.

Hjh Noridah added: “For those facing unwanted pregnancies, abandoning babies is not the answer. There are various alternatives to safeguard the interests of both the mother and child. There are counsellors, either in schools, JAPEM and even NGOs, who can offer advice and support in these cases.”

She said JAPEM’s hotline, 141, is operational 24 hours, all week long and the public can call their hotline to report any case relating to social welfare and to seek advice.

The Brunei Times