Singapore

Woman jailed 11 years after abuse left maid with deformed nose, scars

Female boss jailed for 11 years in 'one of Singapore worst cases of maid abuse'

Ms Khanifa, an Indonesian mother of two from Indramayu, West Java, thinks people are disgusted when they see her.

The 39-year-old has a deformed left ear, permanent and prominent scars on her forehead, on the back of her head and across her shoulders. Her left little finger is functionally impaired.

These resulted from injuries inflicted during a period of six months by her Singaporean employers Zariah Mohd Ali, 58, and her husband Mohamad Dahlan.

Ms Khanifa started work as a maid in November 2011 and by June 2012, Zariah began scolding and physically abusing her.

She hit the maid using various household items. She hit Ms Khanifah's head and her mouth with a hammer, struck her left ear with a bamboo pole and hit her forehead with a stone pestle.

She also stabbed the maid's shoulder with a pair of scissors, slashed her forearm with a chopper, and pushed her left little finger backwards until it broke.

Her security guard husband hit the maid on the head with the cover of a frying pan at their Woodlands flat.

Yesterday, Zariah was sentenced to 11 years' jail, believed to be the longest sentence handed out for maid abuse in Singapore. She had been found guilty in 2017 of 12 charges.

She was also ordered to compensate Ms Khanifa with a sum of about $56,000 or remain an additional five months in jail.

Mohamad was jailed for 15 months. He was told to pay the maid $1,000 or stay an additional five days in jail.

The prosecution called it one of the worst cases of maid abuse in Singapore.

Zariah did not allow Ms Khanifa to call home or use the phone. She was made to stay in the toilet whenever visitors came to the flat.

The abuse was discovered when Ms Khanifa returned to Indonesia in 2013. Her husband saw her injuries and notified the maid agency.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien said significant psychological harm was inflicted on Ms Khanifah.

In her statement, the victim said the abuse left her feeling traumatised.

"Even at the court hearings, when I saw her, I felt very scared because I was reminded of what happened. I was scared if I was going to be attacked by her again," she said.

In her defence, Zariah said she had been suffering from depression after she suffered two strokes.

But the prosecution said Zariah did not suffer from any mental illness at time of the offences. This was supported by psychiatric reports by multiple doctors.

DPP Tan also said Zariah still has normal functioning and strength in the right side of her body.

The couple, who were convicted of the abuse of another domestic worker in 2001, are appealing their current sentences.

COURT & CRIME