A TITLED, affluent Malaysian woman has escaped jail, instead being placed on a good behaviour bond, after seriously assaulting her 19-year-old domestic worker.
Rozita Mohamad Ali, who was given the honorable title “Datin” by the Malaysian monarchy, was originally charged with attempted murder of her maid, Suyanti Sutrinso, after using a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger and an umbrella to attack the Indonesian worker.
Suyanti Sutrinso. pic.twitter.com/GZUITNSpNn
— Mohd Faizal Musa (@drfaisaltehrani) March 16, 2018
Despite the charge carrying a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, Rozita plead guilty to a lesser charge of causing grievous hurt and was sentenced to be bound for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 (US$5,100).
According to The Star, the assault happened over a year ago on Dec 21, 2016. Between the hours of 7am and 12pm, Rozita is said to have caused multiple injuries to the victim’s head, hands, legs and internal organs.
The shocking and violent nature of the attack made Suyanti’s case go viral with many people calling for justice for the abused domestic worker.
The verdict on Thursday has caused outrage in Malaysia, with many suspecting Rozita’s connections and social status as having a hand in her light sentence.
In a statement released Friday, local human rights group Tenaganita called for a harsher punishment, accusing the courts of failing to “uphold the rights people at the margin.”
Human rights group @Tenaganita “distraught that the Sessions Court ordered a ‘Datin’ on a good behavior bond for five years, for abusing her Indonesian domestic worker, Suyanti Sutrinso”. pic.twitter.com/nMEbewM1aY
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) March 16, 2018
A petition challenging the sentence was set up on Thursday and had already collected over 48,000 signatures at the time of writing – just 2,000 shy of its 50,000 target.
The rise in abuse against domestic workers in the Malaysia has prompted Indonesia to consider a moratorium on sending its domestic workers to its Southeast Asian neighbour.
Sign the petition and demand justice for Suyanti Sutrinso, the abused Indonesian maid.
Let’s remind the rich that their status and wealth does not give them the priviledge to escape justice.https://t.co/GDaJZeXTcr
— Luci£er ☆Unleashed☆ (@Kiraneia_Unwill) March 18, 2018
The death of 21-year-old Adelina Lisao in Penang, in February renewed a national debate on the need to strengthen protection for migrant workers. The young Indonesian woman was allegedly forced to sleep outside the house with her employer’s dog for a month. She died with severe injuries to her head and face, and had infected wounds on her hands and legs.
Tenaganita, a group that fights for rights of women, migrant workers and trafficked persons, voiced concern for the social implications that are being communicated by the light sentencing of Rozita.
“It is so apparent that we are cultivating a culture of ‘you commit and crime, the, plead remorse – and you walk free with impunity’,” the group warned in the statement.
“Today’s impunity is tomorrow’s crime.”