Maid starved to death

Written by Felicia Chin

Abuse is a two way street. Last week we read about a maid abusing a disabled boy. In some cases employers drive their maids to the point of death--like this one...

shutterstock 934914 Maid starved to death

24-year-old Cambodian Mey Sichan weighed just 26 kilograms when she was found dead in a house in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, where she worked as a domestic helper.

Her employers, hardware store owners Soh Chew Tong, 43, and his wife Chin Chui Ling, 40, called the paramedics but she was found dead upon arrival, with bruises on her body.

Sichan had been working for the couple for eight months before she passed away on the 31st of March 2012. Her postmortem revealed that she died from acute gastritis and ulcers likely caused by starvation. Police detained her employers and eventually charged them with murder on the 13th of April.

The Northern Network for Migrants and Refugees (JUMP) held a vigil for Sichan on the 20th of May 2012.

Abuse gone unnoticed?

At 26 kilograms, almost half the weight of an average adult woman, Sichan must have looked extremely emaciated and weak.

We have to wonder why no one alerted the authorities to Sichan’s plight. Surely a neighbour or a house visitor must have seen her during the eight months that she worked there. Many prefer to simply turn a blind eye to abuse, but if just one person had spoken up, Sichan might still be alive today.

Due to the staggering amount of abuse cases involving Cambodian domestic helpers in Malaysia, the Cambodian government imposed a temporary ban on sending new domestic workers there since October 2011.

What would you do if you knew someone who was abusing his or her domestic helper? Share your opinions with us below.

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