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Board probes child death, cops say word 'membiar' misinterpreted
Published on: Thursday, December 05, 2019
By: Larry Ralon, Stefyanie Myla Micheal

Kota Kinabalu: Initial investigations into the case of the toddler who plunged to her death from the fifth floor of a building in Bundusan on Dec. 1, showed a flooring board in the link bridge had been removed and was not covered back. 

The flooring board was connecting a completed section and another under construction. There was also no barricade put up to stop people from going through the site, said the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

“Investigations into the incident are still in progress,” said CDIB Sabah Director Rosmen Ag Hassan. 

CIDB officials have conducted an inspection at the site of the incident at 1.30pm on Tuesday and the case has been classified under Section 34D (1) of the CIDB Act (Act 520).

The particular section states that any contractor who breaches his duty under paragraph 34B(1)(c), and which breach results in death, shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

In the incident that happened at 3.50pm, the one year and seven month old victim (pictured, right) and her older sister (left) were reportedly walking along the link bridge when she fell through a gap at the end. 

Meanwhile, Penampang police said their use of the word “membiarkan” in a statement issued to the press following the fatal fall of the child had been misinterpreted.

Penampang Police Chief DSP Mohd Haris Ibrahim said the word used was meant to convey that the mother was “not holding the child but allowed to walk ahead of her. 

“It doesn’t mean the mother wasn’t there at all.

“Police carry a responsibility to the public by presenting facts based on the results of investigations conducted at the scene.

“We do not fabricate or make up stories as if putting the blame on the child’s mother. But this is based on facts and investigations done,” he said.

He said based on the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the premise as well as the mother’s video recording, “we could see the distance of the mother while recording some distance away from the one year and seven month old child…the child was left walking in front.

“We understand how the family must feel but we say based on facts. We get facts based on conversations with family of the victim, witnesses at the scene and are supported by CCTV footage.

“So when I said ‘membiarkan’, it was misinterpreted by the victim’s family and I hope after this media statement no more confusion will occur and would like to express my sincere condolences to the family for what happened,” he said, Wednesday.

Family members took offence at the choice of word “Membiarkan” contained in the police statement and what had appeared in the Chinese media. The word loosely translated from Malay means unrestricted or unsupervised. They denied this was the case, saying the mother was video-taping her children closely behind but was unaware that a death trap lay ahead because there was no warning sign as both the children ran towards it. 

Mohd Haris said the case is still under investigation and a post mortem showed that the victim succumbed to an internal injury from impact due to falling from a high level.

“So far the statement from the mother has not been recorded since the parents are still in Johore for the funeral.

“We will wait for the victim’s mother to be more stable before we call them back for us to get her statement for the investigation before referring to the deputy prosecutor for further investigation,” he said.

Mohd Harris advised parents to keep a close watch on their children, as it is the parent’s responsibility to take care of the child in order to prevent any untoward thing from happening.

On that day, the girl plunged to her death from a 1ft by 1ft gap at the end of the fifth floor of the building along Jalan Bundusan, Penampang.

The victim’s mother was video recording her children (the victim and her three-year-old sister) as they ran excitedly towards the end of the link-bridge when her one year and seven-month-old daughter fell through the gap.

The mother had said in her police report that there were no warning signs whatsoever put up by the management of the building where her daughter fell.

The victim was taken to Jesselton Medical Centre (JMC), Jalan Lintas where she was pronounced dead at 4.30pm.



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