Singapore— Lily Neo, a Member of Parliament for the area where the remains of a two-year-old girl were found last week in a cooking pot, has responded to the murder with concern and sadness.
Dr Neo, an MP for the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng constituency within Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency, spoke to Channel NewsAsia (CNA) about the recent discovery of the remains of the two and a half-year-old girl, who had actually been murdered by her parents five years ago, in 2014.
The child’s father and mother have been in custody on unrelated charges since last year.
Dr Neo told CNA that she has some unanswered questions regarding the case, although she acknowledged that complete facts about it will emerge when it is tried in court.
“I feel sad that such a thing happened. I feel very concerned about why it happened.”
The MP added that there are active social service agencies in place in the area where the child and her family live. A majority of Chin Swee Road residents are seniors, and there are plenty of programmes that support them, as well as several that cater to the needs of the children in the area.
There are also organisations that provide special services such as cleaning homes or delivering meals to the needy.
One problem Dr Neo pointed out, however, is that these agencies and organisations can only provide assistance in situations where they are aware of the need, and when the help is actually welcomed.
Dr Neo said, “If they are completely isolated, it can be difficult to help them. If you don’t even get to see them, and they don’t want to see you, how do you go about it?”
Some residents do not even answer the door for home visits that she and her team conduct.
“It could be that they are not in, they want their privacy, or they don’t want to be disturbed,” the MP added.
The child’s remains were found by the police in a cooking pot at a unit at at Block 52 Chin Swee Road on September 10, when neighbours complained of an unpleasant smell that had been wafting through the corridors for some time.
Her parents, who are unnamed due to a gag order, have been remanded since last year. On September 17, Tuesday, the couple appeared in court and were charged with one count of murder. They have other children, whom the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) recently said are safe.
In a statement to the Straits Times (ST) MSF said “The couple have other children, all of whom are under stable alternative care arrangements.”
The day before the remains of the child were found, the woman had been given a jail sentence of five years and two months after her guilty plea to one charge of theft and three counts related to drugs.
Since the couple’s other children were taken away by social services, their intellectually disabled uncle (the brother of their father) has been living in the apartment alone, with his friends bringing him food.
There has been speculation that the uncle may have found the remains of his niece while he was looking for food in the flat. -/TISG