Living hell? Another foreign maid tortured brutally in Singapore

Couple charged with forcing maid to drink water mixed with floor cleaner

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Yes, hell can exist anywhere, be it your home or abroad. This is exactly what happened with Myanmar national Phyu Phyu Mar who came to Singapore to earn a living. However, her dream of sustaining herself soon turned into a nightmare as she was brutally tortured by her employer and her husband.

Linda Seah Lei Sie (38) and Lim Toon Leng (43) have been accused of mistreating Mar on several occasions and have currently claimed trial to the charges.

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The couple allegedly forced Mar to pour blistering hot water on herself and drink water mixed with floor cleaner. Not only this, Linda, reportedly, pulled the domestic helper's hair so hard that strands of it came off. She also hit her with a mobile phone, bruising her forehead, left eye and left hand, complained the battered maid.

Her husband Lim, a director and shareholder at the beauty salon, on the other hand, punched Mar's forehead twice. These crimes were reportedly carried out in the couple's Punggol Walk flat between August and October 2016.

Recurring problem

Singapore, which is often considered a progressive country, has become peccable, especially for people who come here looking for odd jobs.

Recently, a Bangladeshi National was sentenced to 11 months in jail and three cane strokes after he was found guilty of molesting an Indonesian maid.

Also read: Singapore Crime: Retired lady Warrant Officer jailed for Indian maid abuse

Not only this, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in August that a 30-year-old woman was charged for failing to pay her Myanmar maid for nearly a year. Another couple was also convicted in September for repeatedly hitting their Indonesian maid with weapons such as hammer, stone pestle, pounder, chopper, and bamboo pole, leading to permanent scarring and disfiguration.

MOM Measures

MOM has recently made it compulsory for employers to pay their foreign domestic worker within seven days after the last day of the salary period, which cannot exceed a month. The ministry also asked employers to keep a monthly salary record and take a written acknowledgment of the payment from the employees.

The foreign domestic workers, on the other hand, should seek help immediately if they don't receive their salary. If the problem persists, then he or she should report to MOM or get help from the employment agency.

MOM has also mentioned in its guidelines that employment agency should make the employer and employee sign a contract mentioning safety agreements.

In cases of abuse and ill-treatment, the employers will face severe penalties if they are convicted. "We take allegations of abuse and ill-treatment of an FDW seriously, especially if they concern physical or sexual abuse," said MOM.

An independent consultancy Research Across Borders mentioned that 60% of maids in Singapore are exploited by their employers. However, according to Channel News Asia, MOM described the study as misleading.

This article was first published on January 9, 2018