Family of rescued Malaysian slave in UK comes forward

PETALING JAYA - A Malaysian family has spoken to the English press claiming to be related to the Malaysian woman who was saved from alleged slavery in Lambert recently.

The Telegraph spoke to retired teacher Kamar Mautum, who claims to be the sister of the 69-year-old victim, whom Kamar said disappeared from the family's lives after joining a Maoist sect.

Kamar names the victim as her sister Aishah, who she says was a bright student who studied in an elite school here before winning a Commonwealth scholarship, which brought her to London in the late 1960s. Kamar added that Aishah moved to Britain with her fiance Omar Munir in 1968.

After coming under the influence of Aravindan Balakrishnan (better known as Comrade Bala) and his partner Chanda, she gave up her relationship, as well as her plans to build a career and family.

Aishah eventually ceased contact with her family, who were against her involvement with the left-wing group. According to Kamar, Aishah's last contact with a family member was in the 1970s with her brother who lived in London at that time.

In the report, Kamar was quoted as saying that her mother's last wish was to know what happened to Aishah but by then the latter did not want to talk to the family.

She added that it has been a dark time for the family since Aishah left and that she wishes to meet her sister before either of them dies.

Astro Awani reported yesterday that Aishah was the aunt of the channel's magazine editor Zan Azli Zainal Abidin.

In a report, Zan Azli Zainal Abidin said that his mother alerted him to the identity of the woman after reading about it on The Telegraph.

He added that the story of Aishah was well known among the family but no one suspected that the woman saved from slavery could have been her since she disappeared a long time ago.

Meanwhile, The Malaysian High Commission in London has appealed to the British authorities to let them speak to the Malaysian woman who was rescued after being held as a domestic slave with two others for 30 years.

High Commissioner Datuk Seri Zakaria Sulong said his officials had yet to be allowed to meet the 69-year-old woman.

In an unconfirmed report, Malay­sian activist Hishamuddin Rais, who fled to the United Kingdom in the 1970s, was quoted as saying that the woman could be Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab.

Zakaria said this could not be confirmed although several local dailies had also reported similar backgrounds and personalities involved.

"We need to talk to this woman to establish her nationality immediately. We are naturally concerned and are doing whatever we can to be able to assist her. This includes sending her home, if she is indeed Malaysian," he said yesterday.

He appealed to anyone in Malaysia to come forward with details of their long-lost relatives who had come to Britain.

Information on the case continues to be sparse, with British police remaining tight-lipped on the rescue of the three women, the other two being a 30-year-old British and 57-year-old Irish, on Oct 25 in London's Lambeth district.

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