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TMJ’s four appointed lawyers allowed to keep watching brief in Rumah Bonda founder’s trial

Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 20, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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JOHOR BARU, April 20 — Four senior lawyers, appointed by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, were allowed by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to keep a watching brief in the trial of Rumah Bonda welfare home founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, who is charged with abusing a child with Down Syndrome.

The four lawyers are Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat, Datuk Ikbal Salam and Mohd Radzi Yatiman.

They were appointed by Tunku Ismail based on their respective areas of expertise.

Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu’s expertise is in the field of criminal litigation. He has vast experience in anti-money laundering cases, white/blue collar crimes, human trafficking and kidnapping.

He also currently sits on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Advisory Panel and is also a serving member of the Bar Council’s Criminal Committee.

Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat is a seasoned lawyer and activist whose name is synonymous with assisting Malaysians in several cases of public interest. Of note, in 2014, he led a mission to bring back the children of a Malaysian couple who were detained in Sweden in connection with alleged offences under the country’s child protection laws.

Khairul Anwar, a former national award-winning journalist, is an active legal consultant who provides legal services for media practitioners as well as being an accredited mediator specialising in areas such as human trafficking as well as women and children’s rights awareness. He was also the former chairman of Malaysian Volunteer Lawyers (SukaGuam) chairman.

Datuk Ikbal Salam is an experienced Johor-based lawyer who has handled cases concerning illegitimate children and their status at the National Registration Department (NRD). He is best known in the high-profile case involving the use of the word “Allah”.

Mohd Radzi Yatiman is another experienced Johor-based lawyer known for his criminal field work. He is a member of the National Legal Aid Foundation (YGBK) panel of lawyers.

Earlier, all four lawyers informed the court of their application to keep a watching brief in the morning.

When contacted by Malay Mail, Khairul Anwar confirmed that all four were appointed by Tunku Ismail to keep a watching brief after receiving the approval of the Family, Women and Community Development Ministry.

He said that for a start, they will be observers to today’s proceedings.

Last Sunday, it was reported that Tunku Ismail was prepared to offer the services of lawyers for free to keep a watching brief on the abuse case of the child with Down Syndrome only known as Bella.

Tunku Ismail, who is popularly known as “TMJ” (the Malay abbreviation for the Johor Crown Prince), took to his official Facebook account to say that he would be contacting Family, Women and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun regarding the matter.

Siti Bainun, 30, is currently on trial for charges of abuse and neglect resulting in physical and emotional distress to Bella.

She pleaded not guilty to two charges of neglecting and abusing the girl, causing the victim to suffer physical and emotional injuries at a condominium in Wangsa Maju here between February and June 2021.

The case is framed under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment or a fine of RM50,000 or both, if convicted.

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