Lim Choon Hong and his wife were jailed three weeks and 3 months respectively in addition to a fine of $10,000 for starving their maid for 15 months in a case of maid abuse in Singapore. The prosecutor however, will be appealing the sentence, asking for a longer term of 12 months' jail term for each individual.
The couple was found guilty of not providing adequate food for their Filipino Domestic Helper, Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, while she worked for them. This is despite Thelma pleading them for more food. In April 2014, she managed to escape and seek help from HOME which is a welfare organisation for migrant workers. Thelma's physical condition has since improved and she is now working for a new employer.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the couple is permanently banned from hiring any Foreign Domestic Helpers from hereon. They have four children, and could have been jailed up to 12 months for not providing adequate food to their helper. While a parent's role is to set a good example for their children to follow, this clearly sends a wrong message on how we should treat any individual with basic humane respect. While we acknowledge that they (FDWs) are here to work and may not be considered as part of the family unit, we must not forget that every single one of them have loved ones waiting back home for them to complete their job and return home safe.
Let us hope that this punishment serves as a reminder to the consequences of any form of maid abuse and that we see less of such events happening here in our home country.