SINGAPORE: An online petition calling for "equal justice for the rich and poor" after a woman escaped jail time for abusing her maid in Malaysia has received almost 50,000 signatures in just three days.
On Thursday (Mar 15), Rozita Mohamad Ali was sentenced to a good behaviour bond of five years by a court in Petaling Jaya. She had been charged for abusing 19-year-old Indonesian Suyanti Sutrinso in 2016 with a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger and an umbrella, the Star reported.
The maid suffered multiple injuries to her head, hands legs and internal organs.
While initially charged for attempted murder, Rozita was eventually convicted of causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, which is an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term of 10 years or more, according to Malaysia's penal code.
The petition wrote: "The crime by Datin Rozita Mohd Ali towards her maid is despicable, inhumane and clearly should result in stricter punishment than 'good behaviour bond'. She should be charged with attempted murder or intent to cause serious bodily harm."
The petition added that even though Rozita is "rich and has connections", it doesn't give her the right to treat others in the manner she did.
"What message are we sending to our people and children? Malaysia needs to seriously look at our human rights issue," said the petition.
As of Monday afternoon, the petition on change.org had garnered 49,082 signatures.
The Star reported that Rozita's lawyer, Mr Rosal Azimin Ahmad, applied for the good behaviour bond and claimed that his client had "repented". The New Straits Times added that Mr Rosal said Rozita faced "heavy pressure and stress" after she was charged.
Prosecutors will be appealing the sentence, reported the New Straits Times.
“I have instructed for an appeal to be filed against the inadequacy of the sentence ... I have been told that the Notice of Appeal has been filed,” said Malaysia's Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.