Press Releases

Stop Violence against Domestic Workers

16 Mar 2018

16TH MARCH 2018
We are very distraught that the Sessions Court ordered a “Datin” on a good behavior bond for five years, for abusing her Indonesian domestic worker, Suyanti Sutrinso,…/datin-in-maid-abuse-cas…
The order is illogical, groundless and incongruous.
What is most distressing is that the decision of the Sessions Court plainly lacks concern for the innocent victim, Indonesian domestic workers, aged 19, who suffered horrific injuries.

Rozita was charged under S326 for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons such as a knife, a floor mop, umbrella, iron rod and cloth hanger. She pleaded guilty to the charge, and according to S326, there is no minimum imprisonment sentence. However, yesterday Rozita was released and placed on a good behaviour bond for five years with surety of RM20,000. And from the news report, there was no indication as to why Rozita was released on good behavior bond aside from the facts that Rozita was said to be remorseful and stressed.

Why is the court , in particularly Judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar reaching for a suite of alternative orders before sending Rozita Mohamad Ali - the offender down with punishment, when S326, clearly states, “. Whoever, except in the case provided by section 335, voluntarily causes grievous hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or any scheduled weapon as specified under the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act 1958, or by means of fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or any corrosive substance, or by means of any explosive substance, or by means of any substance which it is deleterious to the human body to inhale, to swallow, or to receive into the blood, or by means of any animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine or to whipping.”

As for Good Behavior Bond, the following provisions applies, S173A of CPC (Power to discharge conditionally or unconditionally); S294 of CPC (First offenders); S293 of CPC (Youthful offenders)

Through our study, S293 applies to youthful offenders and the maximum bond period under S173A is 3 years, we areof the view that the perpetrator was discharged on good behavior bond under S294. Nevertheless, based on our understandings of the laws and the judicial precedents, we are of the opinion that S294 is only applicable when the mitigating factors of the case/ the conditions of the accused person or the nature of the offence warrant a lenient judgment against the perpetrator.
Most importantly, it is a trite law that the court should not put the interest of the accused persons above the interest of the public.

Yes, we took notice that Rozita has pleaded guilty and might be a first offender. Nonetheless in view of the grievous nature of the offence and unless the facts provide otherwise, we believe that the light judgment has sent a wrong message to the public.

Furthermore, cases of this nature should be dealt with extra care as cases of abuse of domestic workers are increasing in numbers and it is a social issue that should be dealt with high importance. We must be mindful of the social implications that may follow from the light sentence ordered.

The only effective way to do away with serious violence towards any person is for perpetrators to be prosecuted and jailed for lengthy periods of time. That is precisely what we accept the judiciary to do but instead the courts seem to take a lenient view of perpetrators who commit crimes of violence, for this is not the first case. Last 27th January, the Federal Court meted out an order to employers, Soh Chew Tong and Chin Chui Ling for starving their domestic worker to death under a lesser charge of 10 years imprisonment, Section 304(b) instead of under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.

It is a truth that the Malaysian Judiciary has once again failed to uphold the rights of people at the margin and protect them against violence and abuse.

It is so apparent that we are cultivating a culture of “ you commit a crime, then plead remorse – and walk free with impunity.

Today’s IMPUNITY is tomorrow’s CRIME


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