Maid jumped off ledge to escape abuse; boss gets nine months' jail

Nuraini Hassan (left) admitted to hurting her domestic worker.
Nuraini Hassan (above) admitted to hurting her domestic worker.

An abused Indonesian domestic worker escaped from her employer's flat by climbing out of the unit's third-floor service balcony window.

She made her way down to the second-floor ledge and then jumped. As a result of the incident on Aug 7, 2012, Ms Yulianti suffered injuries to her head, face and body.

Yesterday, her employer, former customer relationship manager Nuraini Hassan, 32, was sentenced to nine months' jail on four of six maid abuse charges. Her sentence was deferred until March 7.

The mother of three, now a housewife, admitted to punching Ms Yulianti in the left eye, slapping her on the face and kicking her in the abdomen on July 24, 2012, in her Punggol flat.

On Aug 5, Nuraini scratched the helper's face with her fingernails.

The next day, she punched Ms Yulianti in the face; and on the day the maid escaped, slapped her and kicked her in the abdomen.

Nuraini's husband, Mr Muhamad Al-Hafiz Nordin, 32, completed his four-week jail sentence last year on two maid abuse charges.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap said that during the first month of Ms Yulianti's employment in January 2012, she was treated well.

But from February onwards, Nuraini often scolded the domestic worker.

From July, the maid was allowed to bathe only once in three days as her employer felt she wasted water when washing clothes with the washing machine.

On July 23 at about 10pm, the maid ate some noodles which Nuraini had prepared. Ms Yulianti did not know it was for her to break fast early next morning as it was Ramadan. So she ate four slices of bread to break her fast.

When she volunteered to pay for the bread she had taken, Nuraini scolded, punched, slapped and kicked her.

Ms Yulianti was also assaulted on Aug 5 and 6 for not ironing her employer's dress and over hair that had fallen on the floor while she was sweeping.

On Aug 7, Nuraini again slapped, punched and kicked Ms Yulianti for washing her own clothes and the family's together despite a reminder not to do so. Nuraini ordered her to stand outside the common toilet and to let her know if her then two-year-old daughter, who was sleeping, woke up. Ms Yulianti escaped at about 1.30pm when Nuraini and her child were sleeping.

Nuraini's lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, said Ms Yulianti's significant weight loss during her employment had nothing to do with her employers but was a consequence of her dietary preference that was compounded by her being unable to get used to the food here.

He said the maid, who received $5,000 as compensation, has forgiven his client who was sincerely sorry for her actions.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt to a domestic worker is three years' jail and a $7,500 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'Maid jumped off ledge to escape abuse; boss gets nine months' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe