JOHOR BARU, MALAYSIA: A single mother believes that a son whom she had given up for adoption three years ago, for a paltry sum of RM200, was sold off by the syndicate selling babies that was busted recently.
The woman, identified only as Liza, 34, was six months pregnant in April 2005 when she met a man at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital. Liza, who now works as a security guard here, said, at the time, she had problems with her abusive husband and decided to leave him.
Liza also has a 17-year-old son who lives with his father, a 12-year-old boy whom she gave up to the Johor Welfare Department and an 8-year-old girl who has been legally adopted by her aunt.
Liza gave all her children away because she could not afford to care for them, especially since she had health issues that included a weak heart, kidney problems and asthma.
She said the man whom she met at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital told her that he would arrange for her son to be adopted by a good family. Being broke and in poor health, she decided to take his advice.
"I gave birth to a boy on Sept 21, 2005. A day later, I was discharged from hospital and the man took me to his house in Tampoi. I stayed there with his 12-year-old adopted son.
"The next day, he took me to a medical centre in Menara Landmark, where I was introduced to a doctor in his late 50s.
"I handed over my baby to the doctor. I agreed to give him up for adoption because I could not provide for him, but told them that I should be allowed to see my son from time to time."
Both of them allegedly agreed.
The man then took Liza to the Johor National Registration Department, where her son was issued a MyKid. "I was amazed that the identity card was ready within 20 minutes, though I did not have all the required papers, including my husband's MyKad."
Liza stayed at the man's house for two weeks before she was sent home to Kota Tinggi. The man gave her RM200.
Since then, Liza claimed that she had tried to see her son on many occasions but each time she contacted the man, he would give her excuses.
"Over the years, I had been in contact with the man. He wanted me to introduce him to mothers who wanted to give up their children for adoption. "I introduced several single pregnant mothers to him. He also said that for RM3,500, he could get MyKid cards for children conceived out of wedlock.
"He told me that he had obtained good guardians for many children, including a famous local artiste."
Liza, however, became suspicious when she read recent newspaper reports on a baby-for-sale racket busted by police.
"There was a picture of the medical centre in the paper and I realised it was the same place where I met the doctor.
"I called the man who took me there and demanded to see my son. I also asked if he was part of the syndicate.
"He did not answer my question but said there were many secrets he no longer could share with me."
Liza said the man hung up when she threatened to lodge a police report and had not answered any of her calls. She lodged a report at the Johor Baru Central police station on Wednesday and then contacted the New Straits Times with her story.
State police chief Datuk Mohktar Shariff confirmed that the police report had been lodged.
Since the racket was highlighted, police had found six babies and arrested 34 suspects, including five couples who adopted the babies, a doctor and several employees at the medical centre, the doctor's Singaporean wife and an NRD senior officer.
It is not known whether the man who befriended Liza is among those detained.