Pregnant maid who assaulted employer when told to wait to go home jailed four months

SINGAPORE - A newly-arrived maid who found out she was pregnant a month after she started work, assaulted her employer when she was told to wait to go home until her replacement could be found.

Poniyem, who is six months pregnant and goes by only one name, caused her employer to slip on a floor she had made oily.

The 41-year-old Indonesian then sprayed insecticide on the victim's face, grabbed the latter's eight-year-old daughter by the hair and pointed a pair of scissors at the girl's throat.

She released the child, but threatened her 44-year-old employer with a knife in demanding some money and the return of her passport.

Poniyem then took $200 in cash and two mobile phones worth more than $1,800 in total before fleeing to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, where police arrested her.

She was sentenced on Monday (Aug 26) to four months' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of assault and theft. A criminal intimidation charge was considered during sentencing.

The employer cannot be named to protect the identity of her young daughter.

Poniyem got married early this year before she started working for the victim in April.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao said: "Sometime in May...the accused informed the victim that she was pregnant, and wanted to stop working.

"The victim asked the accused to wait until a replacement maid could be found, as the maid agency had informed the victim they were unable to get any replacement until after Hari Raya Puasa, on June 5."

At around 1am on May 21, Poniyem poured some oil outside her employer's room and knocked on the woman's door, claiming she had a stomachache.

When her employer stepped out, the maid pulled her hand, causing her to slip and fall on the slippery floor.

DPP Foo told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim: "After the victim fell to the ground, the accused walked to take a nearby spray can of insecticide, and sprayed the insecticide on the victim's face. The victim closed her eyes to prevent the insecticide from entering her eyes."


The older woman then shouted for her daughter, asking the girl to alert the police. Poniyem then threatened the pair with the weapons before fleeing by taxi with the cash and mobile phones.

For assault, she could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.