The 18-year-old mother of a baby who survived a four-story fall last week began her seven-day remand yesterday to assist police with investigations.
The woman was arrested on Friday after she allegedly threw her newborn baby out of the window of a residential flat in Georgetown, Penang two days prior. The baby suffered injuries to the brain, had a cracked cranium, and an injured liver due to the fall, and is currently placed in the ICU at the Penang Hospital, according to police.
“The doctor said the infant does not need to undergo surgery as the brain injury is not serious but needs to be closely monitored,” Southwest district police chief superintendent A Anbalagan told reporters yesterday.
He added that the woman gave birth at 7am, unbeknownst to her parents. She then panicked and threw the baby out the window in fear of being discovered. According to Bernama, one of the flat’s residents found the newborn baby girl at around 8am in a bloody bag after hearing a loud thud.
The teen mom was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for giving birth to her child. She was discharged when her condition was stable. Her boyfriend was also arrested and is being remanded for six days.
A child abandonment investigation is underway. If found guilty, the couple could face fines and jail time of up to seven years.
Teenage pregnancy is taboo in conservative Malaysia, where some unwed teen moms are abandoned by their own families and shunned by society.
It is known that an average of 50 young girls become pregnant in Malaysia each day. From 2010 to 2019, more than a thousand babies were dumped, according to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
One option for teen moms would be to leave their babies in a baby hatch. Established in 2010, an NGO called OrphanCare has partnered with KPJ, a private hospital body in Malaysia, to introduce baby hatches to areas like Petaling Jaya, Johor Bahru, and Kedah.
They have a total of 11 baby hatches nationwide, with 24-hour CCTV that monitors when a baby arrives, but does not identify the parent. A 2019 report by the Pediatric Association of Malaysia reveals that OrphanCare has saved 369 babies, out of that number, 221 were since adopted by loving parents.
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