Maid abuse trial

Boss 'made offer to maid to keep mum'

Tay told Ms Fitriyah that police officers and officials from the Ministry of Manpower were at his flat and allegedly asked her not to mention that he had hit her and Ms Than. He said if she helped him, he would pay her full salary and buy her a ticke
Tay told Ms Fitriyah that police officers and officials from the Ministry of Manpower were at his flat and allegedly asked her not to mention that he had hit her and Ms Than. He said if she helped him, he would pay her full salary and buy her a ticket to fly back to Indonesia.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Indonesian said she only agreed so she could speak to an officer and complain about abuse

When police said they had received a complaint that his previous maid had been abused, IT manager Tay Wee Kiat allegedly offered to pay his other maid's full salary and fare back to Indonesia as long as she kept her mouth shut.

Ms Fitriyah, who goes by one name, yesterday told a court how she agreed to her employer's offer - only because it would give her a chance to speak to an officer and complain that she too had been abused. The 33-year-old Indonesian was testifying on the fourth day of the maid abuse trial of 38-year-old Tay and his wife Chia Yun Ling, 41, who have claimed trial to 12 and two charges respectively.

She had given evidence on how, in February 2011, she was wrongly punished for breaking a Hindu deity statue and made to stand on a stool for half an hour as she held another stool over her head while Tay inserted a plastic bottle in her mouth. The incident made her want to change employer, and in an effort to do so she stole $50 from Chia and admitted her crime to Tay.

The couple took her to her agency who dissuaded the Tays from making a police report. Ms Fitriyah was counselled and wrote a confession.

In January 2012, Myanmar national Moe Moe Than, 27, went to work for the family but was repatriated in November that year.

However, she returned the next month to complain that the couple abused her.

Ms Fitriyah said yesterday that while she and her employers were at Northpoint mall on Dec 12, 2012, Chia received a call from the police.

Later, when Tay and Ms Fitriyah were in his car, he told her that police officers and officials from the Ministry of Manpower were at his flat and asked her not to mention that he had hit her and Ms Than.

Tay said that if she helped him, he would pay her full salary and buy her a ticket to fly back to Indonesia.

Asked what her reaction was by Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan, Ms Fitriyah said she thought that if she agreed, she could complain to the officer.

Back at the flat, she denied being hit when questioned by two female officers as she was ''scared''. But when they took her to a room, she revealed all. "I informed them sir and ma'am hit me," she told the court. "They checked my body for injuries. My forehead was still swollen."

During cross-examination, counsel Wee Pan Lee put it to Ms Fitriyah that $51, not $50, was found in her luggage along with stolen garments and a stolen child's bracelet. He also put it to her the stool punishment never actually happened - all of which Ms Fitriyah denied.

The trial continues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'Boss 'made offer to maid to keep mum''. Print Edition | Subscribe