Woman raises child like her own for 22 years

Malaysia is a place where people of different religious beliefs coexist harmoniously. Every now and then, we are reminded of just how Malaysians care for each other beyond the boundaries of race or religion.

Take for example, this Chinese woman who has caught people’s attention online for her unconditional love and care for a child by raising her for 22 years while her biological mum was away. She took great pains to look after the child, even ensuring that the latter is a faithful Muslim despite their cultural and religious differences.

Chinese woman cares for child left behind in Malaysia

Woman cares for abandoned child (3)
Image credit: Amirudin Sahib / Harian Metro

On 14th January 2022, Harian Metro reported the story of 83-year-old Chee Hoi Lan who has been looking after Rohana Abdullah, a child who was left behind in Malaysia by her mother when she was only two months old.

Rohana was born to a Malaysian father and an Indonesian mother. Her father has been absent since her birth, while her mother had left her in a kindergarten as an infant as she had to return to her hometown due to an expired permit.

Chee, who was working as a teacher at the kindergarten at that time, came to Rohana’s rescue by taking her into her home. She has been raising her like her own child for 22 years now, all while ensuring that she grows up to be a faithful Muslim despite their religious differences.

This includes spending money for Rohana’s religious education and ensuring that she follows the teachings of Islam such as eating halal food and performing prayers regularly.

“I took the responsibility as a mother to educate and nurture her as she should have been. What differentiates us is culture and religion,” Chee was quoted as saying by Harian Metro.

Differences aside, Chee and Rohana are clearly very fond of each other, with the latter even affectionately referring to her adoptive mother Chee as laoshi, which means teacher in Mandarin.

Rohana’s battle to get citizenship in Malaysia

Woman cares for abandoned child
Image credit: Amirudin Sahib / Harian Metro

While there are many heartwarming moments shared between the two, 22-year-old Rohana does not have Malaysian citizenship till today.

In an interview with Harian Metro, Rohana tearfully explained that she’s still waiting for a reply from the National Registration Department although she had submitted her application for Malaysian citizenship in 2016.

Being stateless, Rohana faces countless challenges to complete her education and find employment opportunities in Malaysia.

But her call for help has been heard by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob who will be liaising with the registration department to look into the matter further.

Love conquers race and religion

It’s truly heartwarming to see a woman’s pure love for her adopted child going beyond the boundaries of race and religion. We hope Chee and her daughter Rohana will stay united for many more years to come, and that Rohana be granted the Malaysian citizenship that she deserves.

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Cover image adapted from: Harian Metro and Harian Metro

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