Uncertain future for young children whose parents died in Johor car crash

Madam Sam's youngest brother (left) said that the family would have to discuss how to raise Xin Rou and her brother Jun Xian after the tragedy.
Madam Sam's youngest brother (left) said that the family would have to discuss how to raise Xin Rou and her brother Jun Xian after the tragedy.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - She should have been back in pre-school this week, reunited with familiar faces, playing, laughing and learning together.

He would have been in his final week of the mid-year holidays, waiting to return to class at Greenwood Primary School and exchange stories with his friends.

But the lives of eight-year-old Chua Jun Xian and his five-year-old sister, Xin Rou, have been turned upside down.

Instead of basking in the memories of a first trip to Malaysia by car, the two children have lost their parents, Mr Chua Keh Loing, 41, and his wife, Madam Sam Chew Yong, 42.

They were killed after their vehicle collided with an MPV in Johor last Friday.

And the future of the children is uncertain.

With no one to care for Jun Xian and Xin Rou here, they may have to leave school and return to Malaysia, where most of the extended family live.

The children and their parents, who were accountants, had been living in a flat in Woodlands with Madam Sam's youngest brother, who works in a factory here and wanted to be known only as Mr Sam.

Mr Sam told The New Paper yesterday: "I am the only one who lived with them in Singapore, but I can't look after them alone because I have to work.

"We hope to let the children return to Singapore to continue studying, but there is no one to care for them."

The children's permanent resident (PR) status is also uncertain. Their parents, who were Malaysians, had lived in Singapore for 10 years and were PRs.

Jun Xian and Xin Rou were born in Malaysia and were cared for by Madam Sam's mother before they joined their parents here three years ago. Their grandmother, who is 64, is now paralysed.

Said Mrs Nadia Moynihan, senior associate at Kalco Law LLC: "If the PR status of the children was sponsored by their parents, it may be revoked now that the parents have died.

DISCRETION

"However, such cases are subject to the discretion of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

 
 
 

"The ICA will consider other factors, like whether the children have spent the bulk of their lives here, study here and have people to care for them here."

The two children are now staying in Malaysia with relatives.

Greenwood Primary School principal Cheryl Foo told TNP it has offered the family support and assistance.

"We are working closely with (Jun Xian's) guardians to support him emotionally through counselling and explore possible financial support for his education and after-school care arrangements at the student care centre based in our school," Ms Foo said.

With no knowledge of the existence of a will or the couple's assets, the family is at a loss over how to proceed with legal arrangements.

Mr Joel Loh, an associate at law firm Chiu Cheong LLC, told TNP: "In this case, whether the (flat) is owned solely, jointly or as tenants in common by the parents, under the Intestate Succession Act, both children will receive equal share of the (flat)."

As for the assets, Mr Loh advised the family to look through documents, such as bank statements and insurance policies. They can also seek a lawyer's assistance to write to relevant banks and institutions, such as The Central Depository, for more information.

But Mr Sam said: "Right now, we don't even know whether we are able to afford legal services."