Another maid falls to her death in Serangoon

UPDATED (19 May 10:20am to add MOM response)

An Indonesian maid in her thirties was found dead at the foot of a flat in Serangoon on Thursday morning.

It is the ninth case reported this year of a maid falling from a high-rise flat, possibly while cleaning window exteriors or hanging out laundry.

The police said they received a call at about 5am requesting for assistance at Blk 520 Serangoon North Avenue 4. Upon their arrival, the maid was seen at the foot of the block. She was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital but succumbed to injuries later.

The police have classified the case an unnatural death and are investigating.

Founder and President of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) Bridget Tan called for a total ban on foreign domestic workers cleaning window exteriors.

“It’s very tragic that this should be the ninth fall this year… domestic workers should not be subject to life endangering tasks like window exterior cleaning and the hanging of laundry on bamboo poles from high rise residences,” she said.

According to Tan, more than 60 maids have fallen while cleaning windows over the last five years.  Some have died, while others were maimed for life and sent back to their home countries.

In a recent Yahoo! Singapore poll, 76 per cent of nearly 6,000 respondents support the move to ban domestic workers from cleaning window exteriors.

While the Ministry of Manpower has not banned the act, it has implemented a compulsory programme for first-time maids to orientate them about living and working safety in Singapore.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was updated by both the Police and the Indonesian embassy about the tragic death of an Indonesian FDW who fell from height on the morning of 17th May.

An MOM spokesperson said the ministry and the police are currently investigating the incident to establish the circumstances of how the FDW fell and what she might have been doing at the time.

"We will need to interview the FDW’s employer, household members, the employment agent as well as eyewitnesses, in the course of our investigations," the spokesperson said.

"Although the factors leading to the FDW’s fall have not been established, MOM strongly reminds FDW employers to closely supervise and guide their FDWs when cleaning windows and hanging laundry. We also urge members of the public to report incidents of FDWs working dangerously to MOM by email at Information such as photographs showing the FDW working dangerously, the date, time and location of the incident would help in investigations," the spokesperson added.