Singapore housewife already charged with permanently damaging maid’s eyes now accused of giving her insufficient food

Ummi Kalsum Ali faces a total of 16 charges over her mistreatment of her maid. — TODAY pic
Ummi Kalsum Ali faces a total of 16 charges over her mistreatment of her maid. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, June 22 — A 42-year-old woman, who was previously charged with multiple instances of abusing her domestic worker, was today hauled back to court and given two more charges of contravening work pass regulations.

Ummi Kalsum Ali is now accused of failing to provide adequate food to Sugiyem, an Indonesian, on several occasions between February and Oct 23 last year, which resulted in weight loss.

She also allegedly did not give Sugiyem a mattress between August and Oct 23 last year, which is “inconsistent with guidelines for employers to adhere to for rest days and well-being for a foreign domestic worker”, court documents stated.

Both of these alleged offences fall under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

This latest development means that Ummi now faces a total of 16 charges.

She is accused of failing to pay Sugiyem her fixed monthly salary of S$670 (RM2,064) on time from January to September last year, as well as neglecting to provide timely and adequate medical attention and treatment on at least six occasions.

As for the alleged physical abuse, Ummi was charged with punching Sugiyem’s eyes and hitting them with objects, including clothes hangers, causing Sugiyem to suffer permanent sight damage on both her eyes.

Ummi is also accused of repeatedly pressing a heated iron on the worker’s forearm and slapping her.

She will return to court on Aug 3 and remains out on S$20,000 bail.

If convicted of contravening work pass regulations, she could be jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

The police previously said that they learned of the alleged offences on Oct 30 last year, after the labour movement’s Centre for Domestic Employees learned about the case through the Indonesian media.

Sugiyem had returned to Indonesia by then.

The centre said in a statement that Sugiyem was able to travel back to Singapore recently in the midst of travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and she received counselling sessions to help her. The reason for her return was not stated.

The centre also activated its charity fund to pay for her medical treatment. — TODAY

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