Banquet manager jailed for maid abuse

Al-Hafiz slapped his maid for using the wrong rag and hit her on the head because his toddler's bottle steamer had a stain.
Al-Hafiz slapped his maid for using the wrong rag and hit her on the head because his toddler's bottle steamer had a stain.PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A BANQUET manager slapped his Indonesian maid because she used a rag meant for cleaning a cat's cage to mop up a spill in the living room.

And to punish her for failing to clean his toddler's bottle steamer, Muhamad Al-Hafiz Nordin hit Ms Yulianti so hard on the head twice that she felt giddy.

Yesterday, the 31-year-old was jailed for four weeks after admitting to two charges of voluntarily causing hurt to his maid.

His wife, Nuraini Hassan, 31, also faces charges of maid abuse, including scratching the maid and kicking her in the stomach. Her case is still in its pre-trial stage.

Ms Yulianti, 34, began working for the family at their Edgefield Plains flat in Punggol in January 2012.

Al-Hafiz treated her well at first, but three months into her employment, the abuse began.

In April, the couple's then two-year-old daughter spilt water on the living room floor.

Nuraini scolded Ms Yulianti for cleaning the mess with a rag used for the family pet's cage, even though the maid had rinsed it.

Nuraini later told her husband about the incident when he returned home, and his reaction was to scold and slap Ms Yulianti on the face.

A few months later, in August, the maid was in the kitchen when Al-Hafiz told her that the bottle steamer had a dry stain. Instead of explaining that she was not taught to use the appliance and that Nuraini was the one who sterilised the bottles, Ms Yulianti simply apologised.

Al-Hafiz struck her on the head, leaving the maid in tears.

Another charge of hitting her on the head in July that year was taken into consideration.

Two days after the incident in August, Ms Yulianti, who was not given the home key, escaped by climbing from the third-floor service balcony to the second-floor ledge.

From there, she jumped to the ground floor, suffering abrasions to one arm.

She had lost 20kg while working for the family. Al-Hafiz's lawyers, Mr Sunil Sudheesan and Ms Diana Ngiam, insisted that the maid's weight loss was due to dietary issues and not because of the way she had been treated.

This was confirmed by Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap.

In mitigation, Mr Sunil said Al-Hafiz was a father of three and the family's sole breadwinner. He also said his client had paid the maid $5,000 as compensation early last year.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt to a maid is a $7,500 fine and three years' jail.

ELENA CHONG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2015, with the headline 'Banquet manager jailed for maid abuse'. Print Edition | Subscribe