The mother and grandaunt who were arrested yesterday on suspicion of abusing a three and five-year-old will be remanded in police custody at the Bayan Baru central lock-up till May 31.

Northeast Penang district police chief, Soffian Santong, said the women, aged 28 and 52, worked at different places in the district as restaurant helpers.

He said the 28-year-old woman was a divorcee and that her children were living with her and her 52-year-old aunt.

"We are investigating when the suspected abuse started," he said today while referring to Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to RM20,000 or both.

Yesterday, the local women were arrested at a flat in Air Itam after a report was lodged by a concerned member of the public after photos of the brother and sister eating at a restaurant with bruises on their faces went viral on Facebook since Thursday.

Soffian said a team from the Penang northeast police district headquarters (IPD) crime investigation division raided the flat at 11.15am, and that the children were rescued and are now receiving care at Hospital Pulau Pinang.

He said cuts and bruises suspected from abuse were found on the children's faces and bodies.