Case of Malaysian woman who escaped jail time for abusing Indonesian maid to go back to court

Rozita Mohamad Ali had been charged with having abused Suyanti Sutrinso (pictured), then 19, using a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger and an umbrella.
Rozita Mohamad Ali had been charged with having abused Suyanti Sutrinso (pictured), then 19, using a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger and an umbrella. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court in Shah Alam is on Wednesday (March 21) scheduled to hear an application to review the sentence meted out to a Malaysian woman who escaped jail time after being found guilty of abusing her Indonesian maid, triggering a public outcry, The Star reported.

Rozita Mohamad Ali, who carries the honorific title of "Datin", was sentenced to a good behaviour bond of five years by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court last Thursday (March 15), for abusing her helper two years ago, even though the prosecution had asked for a jail sentence.

The 44-year-old had been charged with having abused Suyanti Sutrinso, then 19, using a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger and an umbrella.

She allegedly caused multiple injuries to the victim's head, hands, legs and internal organs between 7am and noon on Dec 21, 2016, at a house in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Selangor prosecution director Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad, when contacted, confirmed the hearing.

Mr Iskandar said a notice of urgency was filed on Monday before a Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar.

The prosecution had filed a notice of appeal on Thursday after the Sessions Court meted out a bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 (S$13,437) to Rozita.

Meanwhile, more than 50,000 people have signed a petition demanding equal justice in the case.

The petition, started by "Equal Justice For Malaysians" on Saturday on petition site change.org, obtained the targeted 50,000 signatures just before 7pm on Monday.

According to the website, the petition will be forwarded to Prime Minister Najib Razak and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said.

"What message are we sending to our people and children? Malaysia needs to seriously look at our human rights issues," the petition text said.

 
 
 

Rozita was initially charged under Section 307 of the Penal Code with attempted murder, facing life imprisonment or up to 20 years in jail.

However, the charge was later amended to causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means under Section 326 of the Penal Code which carries imprisonment of up to 20 years.

Rozita pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar sentenced her to be bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000.

Deputy public prosecutor V. Suloshani had urged the court to mete out a jail sentence to serve as a deterrent against the accused, adding that the incident had gone viral on social media.

However, Rozita's lawyer Rosal Azimin Ahmad applied for the good behaviour bond, saying that his client had repented.

The Indonesian Embassy said it would respect and monitor the court process as it was still ongoing because the prosecution has filed an appeal.

"The embassy will not interfere and is confident that the Malaysian legal process will prevail," the embassy told The Star.

Malaysia's ambassador to Indonesia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said relations between the two countries remained warm and had not been affected by the recent spate of abuse cases, the Malaysian Insight reported. He noted that Indonesia was still willing to send its workers to Malaysia.

"I don't think this case would affect ties between both countries because we are two countries that share a lot of things. Our relationship has been good," he was quoted saying.