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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Malaysian Siti Aishah speaks up about living in 'isolation' for 40 years in London Slavery case


London slavery: Siti Aishah speaks up about living in 'isolation' for 40 years




PETALING JAYA: After about 40 years of isolation under a cult-like Maoist sect in London, Malaysian-born Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab (pic) has finally spoken to the media about her time there in a documentary by BBC2.


The hour-long documentary, titled The Cult Next Door, looked into the life of the group under the control of Aravindan Balakrishnan, also known as “Comrade Bala”.


Balakrishnan, whose Maoist commune transformed into a pseudo-religious cult centred on himself, managed to brainwash the sect members into thinking he was immortal and had supernatural powers.

In January last year, he was jailed for 23 years after being found guilty of raping two of his followers and keeping his own daughter, Katy Morgan-Davies, a fearful prisoner for more than three decades since her birth.


Siti Aishah was 24-years-old when she came to the United Kingdom in 1967 to study quantity surveying with a Commonwealth scholarship but found herself entangled with the group, and eventually cut herself off from her family.


In the documentary, Siti Aishah, now 72 years old, revealed how Balakrishnan had made wild claims and made his followers obey bizarre rules.


For instance, they were not allowed to go to the dentist. Instead, he said that they should let their teeth “drop naturally” and that by the time they were a 100 years old, their teeth would have regrown.


When one of the commune members, Sian Davies, became pregnant with Katy, Balakrishnan told them that the reason her belly was growing larger was due to gas.


When Katy was born, he did not reveal who the father was and discouraged his followers from cuddling or caressing the infant even though they were all raising Katy collectively.


Later, when Katy was four years old, Siti Aishah explained how the toddler was “denounced” when she wet herself.


“I was so angry about it, I really felt like running out of the house at that time but I didn’t,” Siti Aishah said, explaining that she did not leave because she had no money or friends and feared being deported.


She only left the commune when the police arrived following Katy’s escape with the help of a sect member and a non-governmental organisation.

However, despite the confinement and even the physical abuse she suffered, Siti Aishah said she was happy living in the commune.


“I thought every day was very interesting and I was never, ever bored. There was always something new to learn. There was something new to do.

“I just can’t imagine I would have had a better life than that,” said Siti Aishah in the documentary.


On Balakrishnan, she said she was “really inspired by him” and thought he was great being able to “clarify” his followers’ minds on what to do with their lives.


Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/29/aishah-speaks-up-about-living-in-isolation-for-40-years/#D4WMlQAYUiPEvu5l.99

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