M'sian woman, 83, raised abandoned child for 22 years since she was 2 months old

Her mother had to go back to Indonesia while her father had disappeared when she was little.

Jean Chien Tay | January 18, 2022, 06:57 PM

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A Malaysian kindergarten teacher adopted and raised a girl who was abandoned at a kindergarten 22 years ago when she was only two months old, Harian Metro reported.

This was in spite of racial and religious differences.

The girl, Rohana Abdullah, was left at the kindergarten after her biological mother, who was working as a cleaner there, was forced to go back to her home country of Indonesia.

She was left with no other kin as her Malaysian father had disappeared when she was little.

Chee Hoi Lan, who is now 83 years old, was working at the kindergarten as a teacher and decided to take Rohana in.

Chee, who is unmarried, said she has raised Rohana like her own throughout the years, and the pair have been living together in Kuala Lumpur since Chee took Rohana in.

"I know there are things that she (Rohana) cannot eat. I know there are times that she has to pray and it's not a problem," Chee added.

Chee reportedly said she was aware that the difference in religion could become "an issue", as Rohana is Muslim, which is why she strived to provide "everything that Rohana needed", including paying for Rohana's religious classes out of her own pocket.

Throughout the years, Chee said she made sure that her adopted daughter carried out her prayers and ate food that was halal.

Rohana suffered from anxiety

Rohana, who's fluent in Mandarin, addresses her adopted mother as "laoshi", which means teacher in Mandarin. She expressed her love and gratitude towards Chee for taking care of her all these years.

However, Rohana is currently facing problems over the status of her citizenship. She said she had applied for Malaysian citizenship since 2016, but has yet to receive a reply, according to Harian Metro.

Rohana felt that it was "unfair" for her to bear the consequences of her biological parents' mistake.

She said she was even forced to drop out of school at one point, as she didn't have proper documents.

Rohana added that she suffered from anxiety, and even attempted suicide to escape her troubles.

What kept her from taking her life was the thought of her adoptive mother, and how the elderly woman would cope after her death.

"I just hope that I can be given a status that enables me to live like everyone else, which includes getting married, opening a (bank) account, and other things that I couldn't do in the past," she said.

Chee said she wanted to see her adopted daughter tie the knot and have a career of her own before she dies.

The chairman of the Zon Batu residents' committee said Rohana's issue has been raised to the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, adding that he would send an official letter to Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

Malaysian home minister felt "touched"

Taking to Facebook on Jan. 16, Hamzah said he was "touched" by Chee and Rohana's story.

The minister said he has ordered his officers to look into the information that has been provided before making any decisions.

Malaysian PM pledged his assistance

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob noticed the media's reports on Rohana's predicament, and called her on Jan. 16 to offer his assistance.

The politician said he would help Rohana get her citizenship and national identification card for the sake of her future.

He also thanked Chee, and said he respected her for taking care of Rohana "with love", despite the differences between them.

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Top image via Harian Metro/Youtube