Family stunned by maid's murder charge after employer's death

Four days after an elderly woman was found dead at home, her Indonesian maid was charged with murder yesterday. -- ST POSED PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Four days after an elderly woman was found dead at home, her Indonesian maid was charged with murder yesterday. -- ST POSED PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

No suspicion of foul play in elderly woman's death until after police probe and postmortem

Four days after an elderly woman was found dead at home, her Indonesian maid was charged with murder yesterday.

But the family of Madam Aandi Abdul Rahman Rasheeda Begam, 77, appeared shocked to hear from reporters that their maid had been charged.

Yati, 26, allegedly murdered Madam Aandi last Tuesday, some time between shortly after midnight and 11.33am, at the victim's flat in Serangoon North Avenue 4.

The Sunday Times understands that the funeral was held and the family did not suspect foul play. The case was established as murder after police investigations and the results of a postmortem.

Indonesian Embassy counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told The Sunday Times that Yati was arrested last Friday and the police told him yesterday morning that she would be charged with murder. The embassy is hiring a lawyer for her.

When reporters went to Madam Aandi's home yesterday, family members, who declined to be named, refused to believe that she might have been murdered.

"We didn't know about this at all, we were not told," said a teenage member of the family. The family declined to say more about the dead woman or the maid and what happened last week, and asked reporters to leave.

Neighbours said Madam Aandi, who needed a wheelchair, had been living in the executive flat for close to 20 years. She shared the home with her son, his wife and their two sons and daughter.

A neighbour said he saw an ambulance and a crowd at the block last Tuesday morning, but there were no police cars.

Others said Madam Aandi rarely left her flat and needed a maid to care for her daily needs. They added that the family had changed three maids in the past five years.

They described Yati as small-sized and added that she was rarely seen outside the flat.

Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported that Yati is from West Java and has been working in Singapore for 11/2 years. She is married with a one-year-old son.

Last week, The Sunday Times reported that the Indonesian Embassy is calling for psychological testing of maids from the country before they arrive here.

Mr Sukmo said the push for such testing comes after recent high-profile murder cases involving Indonesian maids in Singapore and elsewhere.

There have been at least 16 reported homicide cases here involving maids since 2002, and 12 of them are Indonesian.

Yati's case will be mentioned in court on Friday. If convicted of murder, she faces the death penalty.

ameltan@sph.com.sg

leepearl@sph.com.sg