MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Malaysian ‘slave’ happy with lots of buddies

Aishah Wahab was reunited with her big sister in an emotional meeting at a secret location in the north of England.
LONDON: The Malaysian woman allegedly held against her will for more than 30-years was happy in Britain and had a wide circle of friends who cared for her, fed her and loved her, her sister said last night.
Aishah Wahab, 69, had not spoken to her older sister, Kamar Mahtum, since 1968, when after moving to London to study, she got swept up in left-wing politics and entered a Maoist collective.
Such was her isolation from her family that she did not even know their mother passed away 19-years ago.
This week after finally being released from the south London sect – where it is claimed she and two other women were subjected to years of brainwashing and emotional abuse – Miss Wahab was reunited with her big sister in an emotional meeting at a secret location in the north of England.
Last night Mrs Mahtum, 73, who flew to London immediately after discovering her sister had been found, said she was doing well but was a different person to the fiercely bright quantity surveying student who left Malaysia full of ambition at the tail end of the 1960s.
The retired teacher said: “At first I did not recognise her. She looked very different of course; 40-years older, the beautiful young girl had gone. But then again I am also an old woman now.”
She said the first thing they did was to hug one another for a long time as the years of separation fell away.
“I cried, first out of relief, but then out of anger and then out of frustration. She asked me, ‘how is mum?’ and I said, ‘mum is gone’.
“She did not show any emotion at that point. She had tears in her eyes, but I think they were out of respect for me. But I had the sob of my life.
“The last time I sobbed like that was when I lost my mother in 1994. We could not contact Aishah to let her know because we did not know where she was,” she told the the London based Telegraph.
During the 40 minute reunion meeting, the pair did not discuss the conditions in which Miss Wahab and the other rescued women had been living, nor their alleged captors, Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda Pattni.
But Mrs Muhtam said her sister insisted that she had been happy and had a lot of friends in London.
“When I asked her about what had gone on she just clammed up. The only thing she wanted me to perceive is that she is happy.
“She told me, ‘I have got friends here, I work here. I do important work here’, but she could not reveal what it was she did.”
“Each time she said something that made me smile she would say, ‘oh I love your smile. Don’t frown, laugh, smile’.”
Miss Wahab and the other two alleged slaves – believed to be Josephine Herivel, 57, from Northern Ireland and 30-year-old Prem Davies – were released last month after the Freedom Charity received a call from one of the women complaining they had been held against their will for 30-years.
Police from the Met’s human trafficking unit described the case as unique and said as well as investigating allegations of physical assault they were also looking at the “invisible handcuffs” that had been used to keep them in “captivity”.
Mrs Muhtam said her instinct had been to reach out and help her little sister, but Miss Wahab insisted she had never been lonely in London and had people who looked out for her.
“Aishah said, ‘I’ve got enough’, ‘my friends feed me’, ‘my friends love me, I love them, they help me out.”
She added: “When she said that I felt that she was trying to tell me … that even without us, she can survive, as she has been for the last 40 years. We’re nothing that important. I felt a lot of disappointment.”
But she said Miss Wahab had promised to return to Malaysia to be reunited with the rest of her family once the investigation into allegations of slavery was complete, a process which could take at least a year.
She explained: “She promised that after the investigation was over she would come home. As the rest of her family I want her to come home very, very badly.
“I want her to know my children. I want my children to know her. Because part of her is me and part of her is in my children and I want them to recognise the similarity and the identity across the generations. I still feel emotional about it.”
But Mrs Mahtum admitted that her sister had been in London for so long that she now appeared to be more British than Malaysian.
“She was wearing a thick red cardigan and brown pants, very comfortable. She was commenting on my Malaysian attire, my attire is very delicate, velvety, she said this is not something to wear in this cold weather.
“When I tried to talk in Malay she said, ‘why do you speak in Malay, when I haven’t heard it for 40-years.
“I showed her the letter that I had written, but she said, ‘what is this word?’ she could no longer read Malay.”
Mrs Mahtum said the last time the pair had seen each other had been in 1967 when she won a place at university and moved to London with her fiancé.
Two years later when the older sister married in Malaysia, Miss Wahab failed to return, but later wrote her husband a jokey letter telling him he had been “shackled”.
But as she became more involved with radical politics, so the communication dried up and she has never met any of her older sister’s four children or 11 grandchildren.
Describing the meeting, which was attended by around 10 police officers and representatives from the Malaysian High Commission, Mrs Mahtum said seeing that her sister was safe meant she had achieved what she came to Britain to do.
She said: “It was a very emotional day, very revealing, but then I was contented that I got what I wanted and I can bring home the beautiful memories. I have a feeling that she does want to come home eventually and that we will work hard to persuade her.”
“At least I know that my feelings have never wavered, I love her as my sister as I loved her before. I think she loves me too but she’s not as ready to show it as much as I do.
She added: “The blood bonds us thickly as yet, 40-years doesn’t make much change as far as that is concerned.”
Mr Balakrishnan and his wife Ms Pattni have been bailed until a date in January.

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