A Malaysian couple has been charged with causing grievous harm to a Cambodian maid, a rights worker said yesterday, in the latest of a recent string of such prosecutions.
Hairdresser Tan Mong Huwai and his wife Eng Lay Sang, both 36, were charged this week with abusing Chea Phalla, 28, between August 2011 to May in Kuala Lumpur, according to Liva Sreedharan, anti-trafficking program officer at Malaysian NGO Tenaganita.
Chea Phalla had testified in a written statement that her employers had used an iron rod to beat her and forced her to drink her own urine and eat her faeces, Sreedharan said.
“The agency was alerted about the abuse and they got the employer to bring the domestic worker to the embassy. The embassy then brought her to the hospital upon seeing her injuries,” she added.
If found guilty, the couple faces 20 years in prison and a fine or whipping.
Cambodian embassy official Chhay Kosal said Chea Phalla was still recuperating in hospital, breaking down slightly as he recounted her injuries.
“It is unspeakable. I pity her. I absolutely have pity on Khmer women when I see such cases,” he said, adding that Chea Phalla had worked in Malaysia for two years.
The embassy had worked together with the recruitment agency, Cambodian Labor Supply, to bring the case to court, he said.
The embassy has assisted and repatriated more than 10 maids this month.
The charges come a month after Malaysian employers Soh Chew Tong and Chin Chui Ling were charged with murder.
Their maid, Mey Sichan, 24, died in March of suspected starvation and physical abuse, police have told the Post.
Sreedharan said the recent prosecutions showed awareness of abuses had been heightened by the ban on Cambodian maids to Malaysia – imposed in October after a rash of abuses surfaced there.
“There is more prosecution, more willing to be witnesses, to speak up and assist these girls in getting to the embassy,” she said.