Block 654 on Jalan Tenaga, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
Block 654 on Jalan Tenaga, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 50-year-old Singaporean woman who deprived her 29-year-old Indonesian domestic worker of sleep, limited her to no more than six meals a week and maliciously caused her harm was sent to hospital on Wednesday after she claimed she felt dizzy while her lawyer was arguing against a prison sentence for her.

The court previously learned that the defendant, Shazana Abdullah, had abused her worker Siti Khodijah between October 19, 2013, and April 23, 2015, at an apartment on Block 654 on Tenaga Street in Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.

During her employment, the victim had been deprived of sleep and given no proper bed. Khodijah reportedly wrapped herself in a blanket and slept on the floor for no more than five hours per day between 11pm and 4am the next day, after which she was made to cook breakfast and get Abdullah’s children ready for school.

For the first two months of her employment, Khodijah was allowed to have breakfast and dinner every day, but in January 2014, her meals were cut back to only lunch and dinner two or three times a week.

To ease her hunger, Khodijah would sometimes take some food, but when caught, she would be slapped in the face.

One day in May or June 2014, Abdullah confronted the victim who was too scared to admit she had eaten a longan because of hunger. Abdullah vented her anger by splashing boiling water on to her back and left leg. Khodijah was barred from seeing a doctor for the injuries.

One night while the worker was ironing clothes, the accused grabbed the hot iron and pressed it on to the Khodijah’s left hand as a punishment for working too slowly. Abdullah was further provoked when the worker retrieved her hand, prompting her to press the iron onto her right hand.

Between January and April 2015, the abusive employer assaulted the Indonesian victim frequently with household items such as a bamboo pole, slippers and a pair of pliers.

The Ministry of Manpower received an anonymous report and contacted the victim, but Khodijah – who had been warned by Abdullah not to tell anybody about her suffering – told the officers all of her injuries, both old and new, had been caused by herself during accidents.

The officers nevertheless took the worker to a hospital for treatment. Examinations showed that she had permanent burn scars on her back, left leg and both palms.

Abdullah had pleaded guilty to five charges of maid abuse during a previous hearing on September 22 this year. At the Wednesday hearing, at which she was expecting to be sentenced to at least four years in jail, she claimed she felt dizzy and thus was sent to hospital.

The accused is currently out on bail pending resumption of the sentencing hearing on October 30.

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