Maid cooks up lies about employer's wife beating her

For falsely accusing the elderly woman, she is given 4 weeks' jail

The Indonesian maid wanted to go home but her elderly employer was not prompt in giving her an answer.

In a bid to get sent back home quickly, she falsely accused his wife of assaulting her on five occasions.

Susilawati Narsim Sunah was sentenced to four weeks' jail yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of giving false information to a police officer on Nov 5 last year. A second charge for a similar offence involving a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officer was taken into account during sentencing.

Before handing out the sentence, District Judge Low Wee Ping said the tales Susilawati spun were so detailed that the police were initially convinced she was telling the truth.

He said: "In Singapore, our legal and judicial system is one which takes every complaint seriously. Every allegation is pursued."

She told the police Madam Lim had slapped her on the left cheek because she was too slow in bringing her a glass of water. She also accused the old woman of hitting her on the left leg with a walking stick.

The sentence, he added, would serve to deter other maids from committing a similar crime.

Susilawati, 35, started working for Mr Peh Hoon Seng, 85, and his wife, Madam Lim Chin Ai, 83, in their Hougang flat on April 7 last year.

But on Nov 4, she went to the MOM services centre in Bendemeer Road and reported that Madam Lim had abused her.

The next day, the maid went to the Ang Mo Kio Police Division headquarters and repeated the allegations. She said Madam Lim, whom she called "Ah Ma", assaulted her five times between April 20 and Nov 4 last year.

She told the police Madam Lim had slapped her on the left cheek because she was too slow in bringing her a glass of water. She also accused the old woman of hitting her on the left leg with a walking stick.

The elderly couple denied the allegations. Madam Lim said she has difficulty moving around without her walking aid.

Susilawati came clean only on Jan 13, when a deputy public prosecutor from the Attorney-General's Chambers interviewed her - 10 weeks after she made the accusation.

Yesterday, DPP Zulhafni Zulkeflee said: "The accused admitted that Ah Ma never abused her during the period of employment. She concocted the lies because she wanted to return home to Indonesia.

"She had not received a reply from her employer at that point, and decided to take matters into her own hands by raising the false allegations."

Susilawati, who did not have a lawyer, said in her mitigation plea that she was sorry for committing the offence. For giving false information to a police officer, she could have been jailed up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Maid cooks up lies about employer's wife beating her'. Print Edition | Subscribe