'First time I saw my son was at mortuary'
HE WAS in prison when his son was born. Day after day, he counted down the days to when he could hold his boy in his arms.
But when Mohamad Nasser Abdul Gani could finally do that, it was too late.
The only time he got to hold Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser was when he was about to bury him.
His son died on Nov 23 last year, about a month before his third birthday, after 25 days of sustained abuse by his mother, Zai-dah, 41, and her live-in boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46.
Choking back tears, Mr Nasser, 41, told The New Paper: "I never got to see him alive.
"The only time I held him in my arms, he was a lifeless corpse."
He had spent 18 months behind bars from December 2012 to June 2014 for drug-related offences.
Two months before he went in, he was informed by Zaidah, whom he had married and later divorced, that she was pregnant with his child.
A few weeks into his sentence, an officer asked him to sign a document, which informed him that he was the father to a boy named Daniel.
"I told myself that I would find my son after I got out," said Mr Nasser who works as a cleaner.
But after his release, he found out that Zaidah was no longer living at her old address.
Mr Nasser, who has two older children from a previous marriage, reached out to Zaidah's friends, tried phone numbers and visited places she might frequent.
A year of searching yielded no results.
About five months later, on Nov 26 last year, a police officer called and asked if he had a son named Daniel.
He excitedly said yes. But what he thought was good news brought his world crashing down.
The officer told him the heartbreaking news that Daniel had died after he was abused.
"I did not even get to see Daniel alive, and now they called me to identify his dead body," Mr Nasser said.
He went to the mortuary the next day and saw his son for the first time. It left him in tears.
"There were cuts and bruises everywhere on his tiny body," he said. "It broke my heart to look at him... knowing that he had been hurt and tortured so badly."
Mr Nasser collected Daniel's body on Nov 30. It was to be the first and last day that he would get to hold his son. That afternoon, he and seven of his family members buried Daniel.
Asked what he would have told his son if he were still alive, Mr Nasser broke down.
"He was my own son, I did not get to do anything for him, did not get to hold him, or tell him that I love him," he said.
"I would have given anything for the opportunity to take care of him."
THE NEW PAPER