S'porean couple deny abusing 3 children with hockey stick

JOHOR BARU - A Singaporean couple, who allegedly abused three children with a hockey stick, claimed they were merely educating their children.

Defending their action in a magistrate's court here, musician Idris Yacoob, 46, and his wife, Zarina Ibrahim, 39, denied they had mistreated their children at their home in Kampung Melayu, Gelang Patah, near here last week.

Idris told the court he and Zarina, the children's stepmother, were just nurturing the two girls and their brother.

"We were educating them and not mistreating them," he said, adding that he had had two failed marriages and that Zarina had since looked after the children.

The couple face three charges each under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act, which carries a jail sentence of up to 10 years and fine up to RM20,000 (S$8,132).

They had allegedly committed the offence at their home in Jalan Wawasan 2 at around noon on April 22.

Idris and Zarina claimed trial.

Magistrate Hafizah Johor Ariff Johor set bail at RM25,000 (S$10,165) each and fixed June 11 for mention.

Prosecution officer Insp Hasbullah Noor prosecuted while the couple were not represented.

They were arrested after the eldest child, aged 14. lodged a police report, accompanied by her teacher.

Her sister, 10, and their seven-year-old brother were also allegedly abused by their father and stepmother.

The teenager claimed in her report that she and her siblings were often slapped and hit with a hockey stick. The two girls were also shaved bald.

The children have been handed over to the Welfare Department.

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