A local columnist called for better protection on domestic workers in Singapore. Photo: Google Map

Foreign maids should be provided basic information on their rights and on potential employers before they are hired to serve in Singapore, said a columnist at Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao in the city state on Tuesday.

Citing two recent court cases, columnist Li Danyu said in the column that Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower should offer more help to domestic workers to ensure that they are well protected.

On March 23, an Indonesian maid was jailed for four months after she was found guilty of ill-treating her employers’ then four-year-old son, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. She had left a suction cap lodged in the boy’s throat for half a day on November 23 last year and failed to pull it out.

Li said it was unreasonable that the boy’s parents only gave the maid two days of training, who was not a nurse and they had expected her to take care of the boy.

In another case on March 27, a Singapore couple who starved their 40-year-old Filipino live-in maid for more than a year were jailed and fined. A Singapore court heard that the domestic worker’s body weight had more than halved from 49kg to 29kg between January 2013 and April 2014.

Although the judge said the female employer’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was unrelated to the case, the maid should have had the right to be informed of the psychological status of their employers before they accept a job offer, Li said.

Li said the government should assign social workers to help new maids resolve problems.

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