Prosecutors in Malaysia have launched a search for a woman who severely injured her Indonesian maid and failed to appear at a court hearing on Wednesday where she could have faced a tougher sentence than the original one handed out.
The Malaysian woman, who uses the honorific Datin, attacked the maid at a house in Mutiara Damansara in December last year with a kitchen knife, clothes hanger, steel mop and umbrella. The maid suffered multiple injuries to her eyes, both legs, hands and internal organs.
On March 15, Rozita Mohamad Ali, 44, faced a court in Petaling Jaya and was fined only 20,000 ringgits (US$5,108.4) and put on a good behavior bond for five years, a sentence that caused outrage in Malaysia.
In response to the public outrage, Malaysian prosecutors filed an appeal against the light sentence on the same day, according to the Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia). Ali was due back in court on Wednesday but failed to appear. Police are now searching for her and the person who posted her bail.
The ruling provoked a strong public protest, given that Ali already had the charges against her downgraded to causing serious bodily harm from attempted murder and had now escaped jail time. Many claimed the Malaysian justice system was rigged to favor the rich and influential.
If convicted under Section 326 of the Penal Code, Ali could have faced a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine. However, no jail sentence was handed down to the Datin.
An ongoing petition on change.org called for a review of Ali’s sentence and more than 67,000 people signed as of Wednesday.