- 21 months' jail for maid abuse in Singapore
- Minister signals impending changes
- Soh escapes the gallows
A WOMAN, who was convicted of five charges of abusing her Indonesian maid in one of the "most distressing" domestic maid abuse cases in Singapore, was sentenced to 21 months' jail.
Chan Huey Fern, 32, is appealing against conviction and sentence.
Bail of S$20,000 (RM51,337) pending appeal was offered.
The mother of two, who has seven other similar charges pending, was found guilty last week by district judge Low Wee Ping for causing hurt to Juwarti, 25, at her Buangkok Link flat between mid-December and Dec 31, 2010.
She was convicted of punching the maid in the eye, kicking her body and private parts several times.
The court heard that she lashed out at the maid on Dec 31 that year when she found her son's blanket on the floor in the children's room.
After kicking her repeatedly, she called the maid to the kitchen where she kicked her again on the body and private parts several times, causing her to bleed.
The maid ran away the same day as she was afraid of being tortured further by Chan.
The judge found her injuries, including bruises in her eyes and groin area appalling.
Judge Low, in his brief grounds of decision said that Chan became the maid's tormentor during her second year of work.
For nine months, she repeatedly abused Juwarti, both mentally and physically.
"Your abuses were systematic. What you have done to a helpless domestic helper, is repugnant to all notions of common humanity," he added.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua had cited several aggravating factors in the case, particularly the serious injuries inflicted on the victim's private parts and Chan's abuse of her position.
The fact that Chan denied that she had committed any of the offences showed a clear lack of remorse on her part, and she was not repentant for what she had done, he said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
EDUCATION minister Heng Swee Keat signalled impending policy changes on several fronts including housing, as he sketched out how the government intends to ensure that growth becomes even more inclusive.
Underpinning the way forward, however, must be the "critical ingredient" of trust between the government and citizens, he said in a speech at an Economic Society of Singapore function.
Speaking ahead of the Prime Minister's National Day Rally speech on Aug 18 – widely expected to contain policy shifts informed by the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) exercise which Heng heads – he sketched out elements of a "fairer and more just society".
These include giving lower-income Singaporeans substantial benefits to own a home, something that would be a "tangible way to share the fruits of success".
There must also be targeted assistance for the needy and a progressive tax system to avoid excessive inequality, Heng said, noting that the government intends to build on the current progressive system where the wealthy pay the bulk of taxes.
Turning to education, he said that his ministry is "looking at various ways to let off some of the pressure that has built up (in the education system) over the years".
But he added that it would not swing to the other extreme, and that "it must still be part of the Singaporean psyche to want to pursue excellence".
In the 35-minute speech that preceded a question-and-answer session at the event held at Mandarin Orchard hotel, Heng also summed up the main aim for the OSC exercise, which will release its final report this week.
Heng, a former Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director, also touched on how the global financial crisis has shown that the government must play a multi-faceted role of "enabling, regulating and stabilising markets".
On a final note, he also emphasised that Singapore is a price-taker in a tumultuous world buffered only by its reserves. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
A FULL-TIME national serviceman originally facing the death penalty for stabbing a mother of two to death during the Mid-Autumn Festival three years ago will escape the gallows.
The prosecution has indicated that it will reduce the murder charge against Soh Wee Kian, 23, to that of culpable homicide, which carries either life imprisonment and caning, or up to 20 years' jail and a fine or caning.
This emerged in the High Court yesterday, which was originally scheduled to be the first day of Soh's trial for murdering Hoe Hong Lin, 32, at Mandai Tekong Park in Woodlands Drive 50 on Sept 22, 2010. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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