I wonder what you think of this ruling? Is it fair? Is 12 years still too long for an employer who struck her domestic worker with a hot iron on her chest, and abused her repeatedly? If you think it is too long for a first time offender, the Indonesians obviously does not think so:
From the JAKARTA POST:
The NGO Migrant Care, has condemned the controversial verdict of a Malaysian court, which shortened the jail sentence of a Malaysian employer charged with abusing an Indonesian maid in 2004.
Migrant Care said the reduced sentence was humiliating for Indonesia.
“The reduction in the jail sentence is an indication of discriminative court practises in Malaysia and the impunity of Malaysian employers.
“The Malaysian Court of Appeal has no sense of justice,” Migrant Care policy analyst Wahyu Susilo said here Friday.
He added that Migrant Care also regretted the government’s silence during the trial, which he said gave the impression the government paid no serious attention to the protection of Indonesian citizens, including migrant workers, overseas.
The court ruling was made only weeks after the President met with his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, who pledged to provide stronger protection for Indonesian migrant workers.
Yudhoyono made the visit after three Indonesian migrant workers were tortured to death by their Malaysian employers over the past five months.
The two countries’ joint team is still negotiating labor standards and the protection of migrant workers in the country.
As reported by Associated Press on Friday, the Malaysian court cut the jail term of Yim Pek Ha who was convicted of burning her Indonesian maid with an iron, from 18 to 12 years because it was her first offense.
The case is among the most well-known in a string of maid-abuse incidents in recent years that have drawn attention to the risks faced by some 300,000 Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia.
A district court in November sentenced Yim Pek Ha to 18 years in prison for burning her then teenage maid, Nirmala Bonat, with a hot iron and boiling water in 2004.
The case sparked public outrage after newspapers at the time showed grisly photographs of Nirmala, now 24, with severe burns on her body.
Yim, 41, appealed the decision, and the Malaysian High Court on Thursday reduced her sentence by six years because she was a first-time offender and has four young children, a court official revealed on the condition of anonymity.
Yim has not begun her sentence because she is expected to appeal the decision.
Widyarka Ryanata, an Indonesian Embassy spokesman, said officials would monitor the appeal, adding that Indonesia hoped the final verdict would be “fair enough”.
He declined to elaborate because the case is still pending in the courts.
Mistreatment of maids has occasionally marred ties between Indonesia and Malaysia.
Hundreds of maids complain to the Indonesian embassy in Malaysia every year about unpaid salaries, excessive work and physical abuse.
Indonesia stopped sending new maids to Malaysia in June because of concerns about their welfare.
The Malaysian government has since pledged to protect domestic workers and prosecute those who physically abuse them.
* Published in the Jakarta Post of 5 September 2005.