Couple sentenced to jail for maid abuse, file appeal

Safhras Khan
The couple was found guilty at the state court on Friday (10 March).(PHOTO: Yahoo Newsroom)

A couple who physically abused their maid were sentenced to jail on Friday (10 March) after a district court found them guilty of their offences.

Tay Wee Kiat, a 39-year-old IT manager, was given 28 months’ jail after he was convicted by District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan of 10 charges of abusing his Indonesian maid, Fitriyah, and one charge each of abetment and bribing the victim in return for not reporting the offences to the police.

Tay was found guilty of bribing Fitriyah, 36, to lie to the police that he did not physically abuse another maid, Moe Moe Than, from Myanmar in 2012. He also abetted Than, whom he had also employed, to slap Fitriyah’s face 10 times on two occasions in 2012.

His wife, 41-year-old Chia Yun Ling, was sentenced to two months’ jail after she was convicted of slapping Fitriyah twice in 2012. She was also convicted of punching the maid on her forehead in December 2012.

The couple, who had claimed trial, have appealed against the conviction and sentences. They are out on bail, which was set at $15,000 each.

During the hearing, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kumaresan Gohulabalan said that among the offences, Tay had hit Fitriyah on the head using a bamboo stick and a cane on four occasions. He had forced her to stand on one leg on a stool and stay in that position for an hour, and slapped her on a number of occasions.

The court also heard that Tay kicked Than on her backside and was made to jump “like a rabbit” whenever she used the toilet more than three times a day. Than was sent back to Myanmar in October 2012 but returned two months later to lodge a report against Tay.

Pressing for a sentence of at least 33 months for Tay and three months for Chia, DPP Kumaresan said that there were many examples of abuse committed by the couple over a prolonged period.

The prosecutor also pointed out to the serious nature of the assaults and added that the couple hit Fitriyah over trivial things.

As such, the sentence must correspond to the severity of offences the couple committed, and must also address the public interest in deterring like-minded individuals, DPP Kumaresan added.

Twenty-eight other similar charges against the couple, who were represented by lawyer Wee Pan Lee, were stood down and fixed for a pre-trial conference next month.