Myanmar helper’s suffering, death should never have happened: Josephine Teo
Describing the abuse suffered by Myanmar domestic helper Piang Ngaih Don at the hands of her employer as appalling, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said it should never have happened and urged the community to help look out for and report signs of abuse of foreign workers.
Ms Piang was 24 when she died on July 26, 2016. She weighed just 24kg then, having lost 38 per cent of her weight since she started working here on May 28, 2015.
In a Facebook post last night, the minister extended her condolences to Ms Piang's family and said the Government takes the protection of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) seriously.
On Tuesday, Ms Piang's Singaporean employer, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 40, the wife of police officer Kevin Chelvam, 41, admitted to starving, torturing and ultimately killing her.
Chelvam, who was a staff sergeant, was interdicted from Aug 8, 2016, and faces multiple charges in connection to the abuse and death of Ms Piang. His case is still before the courts.
Mrs Teo said Ms Piang worked in Singapore for less than a year and had attended the settling-in-programme.
She was examined by doctors twice during her employment, and her employment agency also spoke to her on two occasions. But no signs of her distress were picked up.
Said Mrs Teo: "The suffering and death of Ms Piang should never have happened. Abuse is abhorrent, whoever the victims are. When it involves FDWs, all the more we have to act."
A statement issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last night said that in the first six months of Ms Piang's employment, Chelvam had provided feedback to the employment agent on communication problems and her work performance.
The agent offered to replace Ms Piang multiple times, but Chelvam did not accept them.
FOUR OTHER MAIDS
MOM added that Chelvam and his family members had previously employed four other FDWs and MOM had not received any complaints or adverse feedback from them.
MOM said it has ensured that a full insurance payout was made to Ms Piang's next of kin, consisting of the full death benefit, repatriation cost and a special gratuity payment.
The Centre for Domestic Employees also made a donation to Ms Piang's family and facilitated her brother's visit to Singapore.