Maid admits to pinching mentally-disabled girl
A 23-year-old Indonesitan maid pinched a 17-year-old mentally disabled girl's cheeks leaving out of frustration. -TNP
By Gan Ling Kai
SHE is a working mum who is away 10 hours a day.
So her three children, including her 17-year-old intellectually-disabled daughter, were left in the care of her Indonesian maid.
On Sept 25, the 52-year-old finance executive, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Ng, was about to take her daughter to the dentist when she noticed bruises on the girl's cheeks and the left side of her chest.
Her daughter, who has an IQ of 65, attends Minds Towner Gardens School, a special school.
Suspecting her maid was responsible for the injuries, Mrs Ng immediately called the police to her home and later took her daughter to Changi General Hospital.
The maid, Miss Fitriyani, 23, is now under investigation for the non-seizable offence of voluntarily causing hurt.
The maid was taken to the police station on Sept 25 for questioning.
She has since been released and is now under the supervision of the maid agency.
When The New Paper met Miss Fitriyani, 23, on Monday, she admitted she had hurt the girl.
Touching her own cheeks, she said in English: "Yes, I pinched both sides."
Miss Fitriyani also apologised to Mrs Ng and explained that she was frustrated because the girl refused to go home after alighting from the school bus.
She said the girl had also soiled herself.
As for the bruise on the girl's chest, Miss Fitriyani claimed she had wanted to help her bathe, but the girl refused to take off her clothes.
"I only tried to move her arms away so that I can (remove her clothes)," gestured Miss Fitriyani.
She claimed she had only brushed her hand lightly against the girl's body.
Mrs Ng said the doctor gave her daughter painkillers and the swelling and bruises diminished a few days later.
She said: "I know it may be a little challenging to take care of my daughter, but how could the maid vent her frustration on (the girl)?
"Right from the beginning, I had indicated to the maid agency and the maid that my daughter is a special child. But instead of getting extra care, she was abused."
Miss Fitriyani had been working with the Ngs since August.
The Ngs have employed more than 10 maids over the past 11 years. Mrs Ng claimed her previous maids had no major problems caring for her daughter.Her other two children are aged 11 and 21.
When asked whether the bruises hurt, Mrs Ng's daughter only smiled sheepishly.
Mrs Ng said she cried in frustration when she first noticed the injuries.
She added: "The worst part is that she is defenceless. She couldn't even communicate properly to me that she was hurt."
SO WHO is responsible for the maid in a situation such as Mrs Ng's?
Since Sept 26, Miss Fitriyani has been under the supervision of the maid agency.
Yet, Mrs Ng is still paying for her daily expenses - $10 a day.
As of Oct 11, she paid the agency $160 for the 16 days that the maid was there. And Mrs Ng faces maintenance bills because Miss Fitriyani is still in Singapore.
In addition, if the maid runs away, the employer may forfeit the $5,000 security bond, depending on how much effort has been put in to locate the maid.
If the employer has an insurance policy to cover the bond, which Mrs Ng does, the amount the employer forfeits would be less. In Mrs Ng's case, she will lose only $250 if Miss Fitriyani runs away.
Mrs Ng said she is frustrated that the maid is still her responsibility even though she does not work for her any more.
Technically, the maid remains under Mrs Ng's employment during her stay here, said the maid's agent, Mr Ricki Kang Kok Hwa.
Mr Kang, 49, who runs Amorie Employment Services, is arranging for a maid to replace Miss Fitriyani.
Mrs Ng doesn't want to send Miss Fitriyani back to Indonesia.
She said on Monday: "Police investigations are ongoing, and I want to see justice done."
Responding to queries from The New Paper, the police would only confirm that a report had been lodged against Miss Fitriyani and investigations are ongoing.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said Miss Fitriyani's work permit was cancelled and a Special Pass was issued on Wednesday.
The MOM spokesman added that in general, foreign workers who are required to assist with investigations into offences are issued with a Special Pass for as long as their presence is required.
But even after cancellation of the work permit, an employer is still responsible for and has to bear the cost of the worker's upkeep and maintenance until she is repatriated.
For cases such as Mrs Ng's, if the worker goes missing during investigation, MOM will decide, on a case-by-case basis, the appropriate amount of security bond to be forfeited.
Such an arrangement doesn't pacify Mrs Ng, who feels that it does not protect the employer's welfare.
"My family and I are the victims. Why do I need to pay for the food of the (alleged) offender?" said Mrs Ng.
Is there a better way to manage cases like this?
Unfortunately, no, said Mr Edmund Pooh, in his 20s, the manager of Universal Employment Agency.
He said he understood Mrs Ng's rationale for keeping the maid here. But she will have to continue supporting
the maid because she is still the employer's responsibility.
After all, he added, "the maid is innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law".
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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