Maid gets justice as judge raps her sacking by Changi airport chairman

Indonesian domestic maid Parti Liyani, 46, has finally obtained justice four years after she was sacked by Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family on 28 Oct 2016, alleging she stole things from their home – leading to an ordeal which finally ended on appeal on 4 Sept 2020.

In overturning her previous conviction for this alleged crime and allowing her appeal, Justice Chan Seng Onn said: “In my judgment, there is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realizing her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly without giving her sufficient time to pack, in the hope that Ms Parti would not use the time to make a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower (MoM).”   

Noting “the existence of an improper motive by members of the Liew family”, the judge said: “Once she made express her desire to complain to MOM after her sudden termination on 28 Oct 2016, the Liew family followed up with the police report to ensure her return would be prevented.

“In my view, the Liew family might not have made a police report had Ms Parti not made her express threat on 28 Oct 2016 to report the matter to MOM.”

Forced to leave the island-state immediately, Parti was arrested at Changi Airport upon her return to Singapore on 2 Dec 2016 to seek employment. She was charged in August 2017 and was sentenced in March 2019 to two years and two months’ jail after a district judge convicted her of four counts of theft.

But she “never thought” of pleading guilty and lawyer Anil Balchandani took the case pro-bono till the successful appeal. She had been staying at a Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics shelter for 3½ years while waiting for the conclusion of the case.

The Singapore appeal court also found that many of the items Parti was accused of stealing were “ostensibly spoilt, broken or lacking in value” to the alleged owners – though it was claimed during the earlier court hearing that these items were valued at S$34,000.

After getting justice, Parti magnanimously said: “I forgive my employer. I just wish to tell them not to do the same thing to other workers, what they have done (to me).”

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