Burned Indonesian Maid With a Hot Iron

Malaysian police said on Sunday that they have arrested a couple for burning their Indonesian maid with a hot iron and scalding water with the husband also accused of raping the woman repeatedly.

The latest case was among a string of shocking mistreatment of domestic workers that has strained ties between Malaysia and Indonesia, prompting Jakarta to temporarily ban maids from working in Malaysia since June last year.

Police in the northern state of Penang said they arrested the couple, a 41-year-old contractor and his wife, on Saturday for abusing their 26-year-old maid from East Java who they hired since February this year.

Georgetown deputy district police chief Abdul Halim Bulat confirmed the incident to AFP but declined further comment.

The Star and New Straits Times newspapers said the woman was being treated at hospital for scald and burn injuries on her back and chest. The Indonesian was rescued by a man after the couple abandoned her at a roadside last week.

The couple, who reportedly have four children aged five to 15, face up to seven years in jail for causing grievous harm to the Indonesian woman. The husband could also face a maximum 20 years imprisonment if convicted of raping the maid.

Malaysia — one of Asia’s largest importers of labor — depends heavily on domestic workers, who come mainly from Indonesia, but has no laws governing their working conditions.

There are about 1.2 million documented Indonesian workers, as well as about 800,000 Indonesians working illegally.

Cases of abuse of maids at the hands of Malaysian bosses are a frequent source of outrage in Indonesia, contributing to often prickly relations between the two countries. 

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