Malaysian on trial for murdering supervisor at Singapore ferry terminal, stealing her jewellery to fund his wedding

Ahmad Muin Yaacob is on trial for the murder of his supervisor Maimunah Awang in November 2016. — TODAY pic
Ahmad Muin Yaacob is on trial for the murder of his supervisor Maimunah Awang in November 2016. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 17 — The young cleaner was desperate for money to pay for his upcoming wedding, so he stabbed his supervisor to death at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal with a pair of grass cutters and stole her gold jewellery, the court heard.

Ahmad Muin Yaacob, who is from the northeastern state of Kelantan in Malaysia, then allegedly dumped Maimunah Awang in a drain, fled Singapore through Woodlands Checkpoint and returned home.

Laying out their case against him, prosecutors on Tuesday (Sept 17) said Ahmad Muin then pawned the jewellery for about RM10,000 (S$3,300), using some of the money for gambling.

Some three weeks later, after getting married, he was arrested by the Malaysian police and handed over to the authorities here.

Ahmad Muin began standing trial in the High Court for the murder of 54-year-old Maimunah on Tuesday. If convicted of murder, he faces the death penalty.

The 26-year-old Malaysian is accused of killing the widow between noon and 1pm at the ferry terminal on Nov 24, 2016 — his last day of work there. 

He is represented by lawyers Hassan Esa Almenoar and Rajan Supramaniam.

In his statements to the police, Ahmad Muin said that Maimunah was a nice person who bought him food and lent him money on several occasions. He had no savings at the time, and admitted to borrowing from his colleagues to pay for his daily expenses.

He also admitted to stabbing Maimunah in the chest with a pair of grass cutters and using the handle to hit her head, eventually killing her. 

‘Repaid kindness in blood’

Today, Deputy Chief Prosecutor (DCP) Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir said in his opening statement that Ahmad Muin “brutally murdered” Maimunah in a cramped storeroom at the ferry terminal.

She allowed him to sleep in the storeroom against regulations, as he had had no place to live in Singapore. But he “repaid her kindness in blood”, DCP Faizal said.

At the time, he had a good relationship with Maimunah and owed her S$70.

“With his marriage a mere two weeks away and with no savings to pay for the attendant expenses, he preyed upon a defenceless woman when the opportunity presented itself He stabbed her with grass cutters and despite her pleas for mercy, bludgeoned her on the head until she stopped moving,” the prosecutor told the court.

DCP Faizal added that Ahmad Muin then took the gold jewellery that Maimunah was wearing and took a taxi to Woodlands Checkpoint, before crossing the Causeway to Johor and returning to Kelantan.

Today, Maimunah’s supervisor, Roslan Tamain, the operations executive of CSP Maintenance, which provided cleaning services at the ferry terminal, testified in court through a Malay interpreter that Maimunah wore her jewellery prominently while at work. 

She had gold rings on all of her fingers and anklets that would “produce sounds”, he said.

Two weeks before the day of the incident, Roslan had told Ahmad Muin that he was firing him as it was not profitable for CSP to have four foreign workers at the ferry terminal. 

Ahmad Muin was on a temporary work permit while the others were on permanent permits.

Ahmad Muin replied that he was getting married soon and asked if he could continue working until he found another job. Roslan acceded, but said he could not stay on for much longer, as his permit had been terminated.

Ahmad Muin then borrowed money from Maimunah and his other colleagues.

On November 22, 2016, Roslan gave him S$400 in wages and told him not to return to work at the ferry terminal anymore. 

The next day, Ahmad Muin pleaded to continue working so he could earn money for his wedding. Roslan allowed him to do so temporarily.

What happened that day

At about noon on Nov 24, 2016, Ahmad Muin went to the storeroom where Maimunah was having lunch.

DCP Faizal said that Ahmad Muin then thrust the blade of the grass cutter into her right upper chest, and she slumped to the ground and pleaded for him not to harm or kill her.

“At this juncture, the accused saw that the deceased was weak and gasping for air. Despite that, the accused stood above her and hit her head with the grass cutters. When she tried to get up, he pushed her back down with his right leg. He then hit her on the head with the grass cutters repeatedly,” the prosecutor added.

A forensic pathologist from the Health Sciences Authority certified Munaimah’s cause of death as haemorrhage due to a stab wound to the neck, with a head injury.

Ahmad Muin then took the two gold necklaces and two gold bracelets that Maimunah was wearing, pushed her body into the drain outside the storeroom, closed the drain cover and left the ferry terminal. He also took her mobile phone.

He sold one of the bracelets in Johor for RM1,000. When he returned home in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, he pawned the rest of the jewellery for RM7,500, set aside RM6,000 for his wedding dowry and used some of the rest to gamble.

He also sold the pawn ticket to another pawn shop for RM1,054 and used part of it for his wedding expenses.

 He got married as planned on December 9, 2016. About a week later, he was arrested by the Royal Malaysian Police after a warrant of arrest was issued by the Singapore courts and taken back here.

Dr Kenneth Koh, a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health, said in a report that Ahmad Muin has no major mental illness and was not of unsound mind at the time of the alleged offence.

The trial continues before Justice Aedit Abdullah. — TODAY

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