Maid testifies that employer hit her on her head and mouth with a hammer

Indonesian maid Khanifah said she was hit with a hammer about five times and twice on the mouth during the second half of her employment in 2012.
Indonesian maid Khanifah said she was hit with a hammer about five times and twice on the mouth during the second half of her employment in 2012.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An Indonesian maid told a court on Monday (April 18) of various abuses at the hands of her female employer, who allegedly used an array of weapons to hit her body, head and face.

Ms Khanifah, 35, was on the stand at the start of the trial of Zariah Mohd Ali, 54. The prosecution is proceeding on 12 of 28 charges of maid abuse. Her husband, Mohamad Dahlan, 56, faces one charge of hitting the maid on the head with the cover of a frying pan.

The maid said she was hit with a hammer about five times and twice on the mouth during the second half of her employment in 2012 at the couple's flat in Woodlands.

She said Zariah used the blunt side of the hammer to hit her hard on the back of her head after complaining that she had not cleaned the toilet properly and fast enough.

The first time she was hit on the head, she shouted: "Ma'am, sakit (pain)''. She went to the kitchen toilet to clean the wound on her head and put a small towel to cover the wound but it was not enough.

 

The maid said: "Ma'am gave me something to wipe my head. She used Softex (sanitary pad) to cover the blood but the blood kept spilling out,'' she said in Bahasa Indonesia through an interpreter.

 

Recounting a final hammer incident, she said she was cleaning Zariah's toilet when the latter again scolded and hit her with the hammer.

Though paralysed on the left hand, Zariah used her right hand to strike her "very hard", said Ms Khanifah,

This time, she said, she bled more than the first time as the previous injury had not healed.

She said she had to clean the head injury in the kitchen toilet. She said she again used a small towel and Zariah threw the Softex towards her.

She said she was not given any medicine and Zariah did not care.

She took off her tudung in the witness stand to show the court a large patch on the back of her head after she was asked the state of her scalp by Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz.

Ms Khanifah also testified that Zariah hit her on the lower lip when she was cleaning outside of Zariah's room.

She said Zariah asked her to grin and bare her teeth. Zariah then hit her on the middle of her bottom lip. She said her gum bled; her lip was swollen and her two lower teeth, shaky.

She also recounted a time when two of her bottom teeth were knocked out when Zariah called her and scolded her while she was cleaning the kitchen.

She said parts of her top teeth broke, too. "It was very painful," she said.

Besides the hammer, Zariah allegedly used a bamboo pole to hit Ms Khanifah's left ear resulting in permanent disfiguration.

Zariah also allegedly used a stone pounder to disfigure her head; stabbed her on the shoulder with a pair of scissors; and stabbed her on the forearm with a chopper.