A couple are now on trial for allegedly abusing maid in Singapore. The long list of abuse includes physical assault and even forcing the maid to scald herself twice.
Couple accused of abusing maid in Singapore
According to The Straits Times, the offences happened at a flat in Punggol Walk between August and October 2016.
It took a former employee to report the matter to police.
Apparently, at one point, Ms. Linda Seah Lei Sie even forced her Myanmar maid, Phyu Phyu Mar, to drink water mixed with floor cleaner. She was also made to bang her own head on the floor.
Other accusations include grabbing the maid’s hair and shaking her so violently that a lot of hair fell out. Phyu was also allegedly hit with a mobile phone, causing bruises on her forehead, left eye and left hand.
Linda’s husband Lim Toon Leng has also been accused of assault and punching the maid’s forehead twice.
Former employee reports matter
The case was brought to light by Ms Lee Lee Yen, former employee at “Anew Me Beauty Aesthetic salon”, which the couple run together.
According to Ms. Lee. when she first met the maid, “She was quite chatty. She had long hair and looked a bit chubby.”
Many months later, she noticed that the maid had slimmed down considerably and always complained of being hungry.
One one occasion Ms. Lee (who is also a good friend of Ms. Linda) noticed that the maid had a swollen left eye and a bruise around it. When she asked about it, the maid showed her a mark on her left shoulder.
Ms Lee has been quoted as telling District Judge Olivia Low, “It was a hot-water scalding mark. It was red and the skin was starting to peel off…”
“She told me Linda poured hot water onto her and made her pour hot water onto herself.”
Ms Lee informed the matter to police that very evening.
The case is on trial now.
Stop abusing maid in Singapore
It is quite unfortunate that many people still treat their maids more like slaves and less like employees. There are laws in place to protect the rights of maids. If convicted, maid abusers can be jailed for up to 3 years and fined up to $7,500.
The MOM also reminds us to report any maid abuse case that we come across to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6438 5122.
Meanwhile, here is what you can do to have a better relationship with your maid:
- Food, water and shelter: According to the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, employers must pay and provide adequate food and medical treatment for their domestic helpers.
Ensure that your maid is healthy, and has enough sleep and energy for all her tasks. Sit with her, and make sure she’s comfortable with the tasks at hand. Discuss on a timetable that you can follow daily.
- Communication and training : Wherever possible, write down specific instructions to be followed, and put it up on the wall, or on the fridge.
You might even want to take some time off work to train your maid in the initial days, until she gets used to your home environment. Teach her how exactly to take care of your child or your elderly parents.
- Lay out the rules : Right from the beginning, your maid should be aware of the house rules. Be specific about house rules, such as work that needs to be completed everyday, use of handphone etc.
- Be human: Never abuse your maid, be it physically or verbally. It is inhuman and against the law. Practise dignity of labour. Make her feel comfortable and treat her like family.
- Empathise with your maid: Understand that she was not ‘born a maid’. She too has a family back home.
She has come to a foreign country to work, just so that she can provide for her family, and fulfil their dreams and aspirations. Be kind. An unhappy maid will never be able to do good work.
- Give constructive feedback : If you are not happy with your maid’s work, instruct her without scolding. She is human after all.
Treat her with dignity and respect, for she is helping you do work that you yourself are unable to cope up with. Praise her for good work and behaviour. It will spur her to do better.