Jakarta’s representative in Penang is demanding answers after a harrowing case involving the death of an Indonesian domestic helper, Adelina Jerima Sau, was dropped by the courts. Her former employer was facing abuse allegations and murder charges, with images of Adelina’s final days having been captured by a neighbor’s mobile phone, as she was forced to sleep outside the home, along with a dog.
Consul-General Iwanshah Wibisino of Indonesia in Penang, has sent an official letter asking for a meeting with the island’s deputy public prosecutor (DPP) to get more details as to why the case was dropped by the courts.
“I hope the meeting can be made as soon as possible, because we have to give an explanation to Adelina’s family in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on the development of the case and why it was dropped,’’ he said yesterday. He added that both Indonesians and Malaysians were shocked to learn that the case against the employer was suddenly dropped.
However, the consul-general then tempered his statement, saying that he respected Malaysia’s rule of law, and that he hoped only that Adelina will get justice.
On Friday, news emerged that Ambika MA Shan, Adelina’s employer, had managed to evade a death sentence, after the High Court of Penang relieved her of from charges of killing the domestic helper.
The DPP then requested that Ambika be freed without being acquitted.
Several high-profile non-governmental organizations, including Tenaganita and the International Humanitarian Welfare Organization, have called for the country’s attorney general, Tommy Thomas to review the decision.
Last year, a concerned neighbor contacted authorities after seeing Adelina, aged only 21, forced to sleep outside her employer’s home in Bukit Mertajam. When investigators arrived, the young woman was found to have serious injuries all over her body, with infected wounds, extensive bruises and burns, and with a swollen face.
She died shortly after in hospital.
About 2.5 million Indonesians work in more affluent Malaysia — many illegally — in sectors ranging from agriculture to construction, including an estimated 400,000 female domestic helpers.
Allegations of abuse are common. These range from overwork, to beatings and sexual abuse, and the issue is a regular diplomatic flashpoint between the Southeast Asian neighbors.
This article, Indonesia seeks answers after troubling decision to drop case over maid’s death, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!