(Marliah Jonet. Photo: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore)
Daily verbal abuse and pork thrown twice at the corridor along her flat at Tampines while she was observing the fasting month recently.
These were some of the alleged acts of harassment suffered by 61-year-old widow Marliah Jonet, who claimed that a Chinese neighbour was responsible for them.
Marliah’s plight was highlighted by former Singapore supermodel, Hanis Hussey, who posted a YouTube video on the alleged abuse on her Facebook page on Tuesday (26 July). Hanis said that Marliah is her sister-in-law, adding that the abuse has been going on for more than six years.
The video showed the elderly neighbour shouting in the direction of Marliah’s ninth-storey flat at Blk 247 Tampines Street 21, and calling the Malay woman “a pig”. The neighbour lives one floor below Marliah’s flat.
The neighbour was also seen using a water hose to spray water towards Marliah’s laundry poles and those belonging to other neighbours. The video also showed the woman holding a plastic bag allegedly containing the pork that was thrown in the direction of Marliah’s flat.
The video has since been viewed more than 19,000 times since it was posted on Monday (25 July) while Hanis’ Facebook post has been shared more than 1,100 times since it was up on Tuesday morning.
Suffering daily harassment since 2010
Speaking to Yahoo Singapore on Tuesday afternoon, Marliah said that the neighbour began harassing her in April 2010.
“I wrote everything down in a notebook. She accused me of throwing rubbish out of my window hence dirtying one of her blouses in 2010. But when she showed me the blouse I cannot find a single stain on it,” she said, adding that she had never thrown rubbish indiscriminately from her flat.
The accusation was the start of Marliah’s nightmare as the neighbour began to harass her daily by shouting at her and calling her names. Marilah said her neighbour lives with her husband and a daughter.
Even doing her daily chores would lead to abuse by the neighbour. Marliah said that she cannot even pound her vegetables because the moment she does so, the neighbour would start screaming at her.
She had reported the matter to the police and other relevant authorities but the issue is yet to be resolved.
In desperation, Marliah even sent an email a few years ago to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who then referred her to the Tampines town council.
“But the problem is still here. The police, the town council officers and even HDB (Housing and Development Board) came down to try to solve the problem. But she will never open the door most of the time. And if she did open the door, she will tell a long and winding story,” said Marliah, who is staying with a daughter.
(Marliah showing copies of the police report, email to PM Lee and other related letters. Photo: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore)
Threw pork at her corridor
In June, during the holy month of Ramadhan, Marliah claimed that her neighbour twice threw pork onto the corridor of her flat. She said that both incidents were caught on her CCTV system and she had reported the matter to the police.
Marliah hopes that the intervention by her sister-in-law Hanis would lead to firm action taken against her neighbour.
When contacted, Hanis, who is currently in Hawaii, said she posted the video to get the attention of the media, Marliah’s town council, Members of Parliament and authorities.
“Six years has been a long time to suffer this abuse daily. Throwing pork on her (Marliah’s) front door is madness and inciting religious and racial hatred. It is a crime,” said Hanis in a Facebook message to this reporter.
Attempts to talk to the neighbour were futile as she refused to open the door when this reporter knocked on it. However, the reporter heard the neighbour talking loudly behind the door in Mandarin.
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed that the elderly woman constantly shouts and curses. He said that whenever she throws her temper, he would just shut his door and windows.
“She does it twice a day and each session would last for about 20 minutes. I’ve stayed here for more than a year but I just choose to ignore her,” he said.
One neighbour, who lives two floors above the Chinese woman, confirmed that she has also heard the shouting and said that the woman may have mental issues. She added that she had seen the woman at the lift landing but they only exchanged greetings.
“Police do come here regularly to try to resolve the issues but they were never successful. I pity her neighbour (Marliah) who lives above her as she is constantly being abused,” said the woman, who also declined to be identified.
No resources to get legal aid
Marliah hopes that the matter, which has been brought before the courts, will be resolved soon.
“However, she (the neighbour) did not turn up before the judge. Once when she did appear before a court clerk, she just said she wanted to speak to the judge and walked away.
Marliah hoped to seek help from a lawyer to resolve the matter once and for all.
"I do not have the resources to do so. I have tried to get help from the Legal Aid Bureau but was told it does not handle disputes between neighbours,” said Marliah with an air of resignation.
Yahoo Singapore has contacted the police and the HDB for a response about Marliah’s complaints.