PETALING JAYA • A Malaysian woman was charged yesterday with attempting to murder her Indonesian maid.
Rozita Mohamad Ali is accused of trying to kill Suyanti Sutrinso using a kitchen knife, a clothes hanger, a steel mop and an umbrella, subjecting the woman to a five-hour ordeal on Dec 21 at her home in the suburb of Mutiara Damansara, reported news site The Star Online.
Rozita, 43, who is unemployed and said to suffer from asthma, pleaded not guilty to the charge. If found guilty, she faces either life imprisonment or a 20-year jail term.
She was released after paying RM20,000 (S$6,400) bail and surrendering her passport. She was ordered to report to the nearest police station once a month and barred from approaching Ms Suyanti during the course of the trial. The court has set Feb 7 to fix the trial date.
The case first came to light when a security guard found Ms Suyanti slumped unconscious by a drain in the neighbourhood, with serious injuries all over her body.
I was slapped and punched every day while being called an animal. I feared for my life.
MS SUYANTI SUTRINSO
According to earlier reports in The Star, Ms Suyanti said that she had climbed a ladder near the fence of her employer's house on Dec 21, jumped over, and run as fast as she could to escape Rozita's alleged physical and mental abuse.
"I was slapped and punched every day while being called an animal. I feared for my life," she said. At the time, she had been working for Rozita for only two weeks.
Ms Suyanti, who is from Medan, said she was not allowed to bathe and was permitted to eat only once a day. "I was hoping that my employer would change her ways someday. However, I reached my breaking point."
Rozita, a datuk's wife, surrendered to the police on the day of Ms Suyanti's escape after news of her condition went viral on social media.
Ms Suyanti has been staying at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur since she was discharged from hospital.
This is the most recent in a number of maid abuse incidents in the country. In October last year, a couple from Penang were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of starving and abusing their Cambodian maid Mey Sichan, 24, for seven months in 2012. Ms Mey weighed only 26kg when she was rescued; she later died from her injuries.
In 2009, Indonesia stopped sending maids to Malaysia after incidents of mistreatment. This ban was lifted two years later, after both countries agreed on better protection measures.