Singapore—In Parliament on Monday, October 7, Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Desmond Lee said that the parents of the little girl whose remains were found in a cooking pot at an apartment in Chin Swee Road had said to officials that the child was in the care of some relatives.
The parents of the little girl, who are in custody due to unrelated drug charges, are believed to be responsible for her death. They were charged on September 17 for the murder of their daughter, who was two years old at the time of her death.
They have not been named publicly. The couple is undergoing psychiatric observation and will be back in court later in the month.
Mr Lee said in a parliamentary reply, “Based on what the family members had said at that time, and the interactions that the family had with the different agencies, the officers and social workers did not suspect that the child had gone missing or had come to any harm.
A two-year-old child will generally have no interaction, on a regular basis, with agencies.”
The minister said that other details pertinent to the case would be revealed in court, and that the interactions and actions of the family with various social services agencies are relevant to the investigation into the child’s death, therefore, he could not reveal more details about it as yet.
There were four Members of Parliament who had questions about the death, which had occurred five years ago. One question came from Daniel Goh, Workers’ Party Non-Constituency MP, who asked why pertinent government agencies and offices had been unaware that the child was missing for five years.
Dennis Tan, also an NCMP, inquired as to whether or not the birth of the little girl had been registered at all, and why agencies of the government had known known that she had no educational or other such records since there had never been a death certificate issued for her.
Chong Kee Hiong of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC asked if the MSF had measures in place that would detect if a child were being abused as early as possible.
The MSF said last month that the couple’s other children are in stable alternative care arrangements, and that it would be reviewing how “the network of agencies and community organisations can be further strengthened”.
Mr Lee confirmed that the child’s birth had been registered, and that the family had been in contact with several community and government organizations, including MSF’s Social Service Office (SSO), Child Protective Service which comes under the MSF, Home Team agencies, the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and family service centres, for numerous reasons, which include financial assistance, childcare, education, among others.
On October 1, TISG reported that the 30-year-old mother of the toddler, was ordered to be remanded in Changi Prison’s Complex Medical Centre for three weeks for psychiatric observation. The child’s 31-year-old father will be remanded for three weeks at the Complex Medical Centre in Changi Prison and will return to court via video-link for a further mention on October 15. -/TISG