SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old Singaporean woman accused of abusing her foreign domestic worker and failing to pay her on time was charged in court on Wednesday (Apr 28).
Ummi Kalsum Ali faces 10 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
She allegedly assaulted the Indonesian maid, 49-year-old Ms Sugiyem Samad Radimah, on multiple occasions between February and October last year in her flat along Pasir Ris Drive 6.
According to court documents, Ummi voluntarily caused hurt to Ms Sugiyem by slapping her on the face and ears. She also repeatedly pressed a heated iron onto Ms Sugiyem's right forearm repeatedly sometime in October 2020.
Ummi was also charged for punching Ms Sugiyem's eyes with her fists, and hitting her eyes with objects including clothes hangers. This caused the maid to suffer permanent damage to her sight in both eyes.
She also faces nine charges for failing to pay Ms Sugiyem's monthly salary of S$670 from January to September 2020.
In a media release on Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it was alerted to the case by the Centre for Domestic Employees on Oct 28, 2020.
"Ummi also failed to provide Sugiyem with timely and adequate medical attention after Sugiyem made multiple requests to Ummi to see a doctor," said MOM.
Court documents also showed that Ummi neglected to provide medical attention and treatment to Ms Sugiyem on at least six separate occasions.
The police said they received a report on Oct 30, 2020 that a woman had abused her former domestic worker.
"As the domestic worker had returned to Indonesia when the report was received, efforts were taken to facilitate her return to Singapore to assist with investigations," said the police on Tuesday.
If convicted of ill-treatment by neglect, Ummi can be jailed up to 24 months, fined up to S$20,000 or both.
For each charge of failing to pay Ms Sugiyem's salary, she faces a jail term of up to 12 months, a fine of up to S$10,000 or both, if found guilty.
She will also be barred from employing a foreign domestic worker in the future, said MOM.
"MOM takes the safety and well-being of all (migrant domestic workers) MDWs seriously and is committed to introducing new safeguards to better protect them against potential abuse," it said.
Foreign domestic workers who need assistance can call the MOM helpline at 1800 339 5505, or the Centre for Domestic Employees at 1800 2255 233.
Anyone with information on suspected offences involving foreign domestic workers can report the matter to MOM at email@example.com or call 6438 5122.