Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another Indonesian maid falls to her death in S'pore, 8th case this year | The Jakarta Post

Another Indonesian maid falls to her death in S'pore, 8th case this year

Cherie Thio, Asia News Network (The Straits Times), Singapore | Sat, 04/28/2012 2:44 PM
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Sudden death: An Indonesian maid's body lies at the foot of a Woodlands apartment building in Singapore on Thursday. She fell from the ninth floor. (The Straits Times/Shin Min/Asia News Network)Sudden death: An Indonesian maid's body lies at the foot of a Woodlands apartment building in Singapore on Thursday. She fell from the ninth floor. (The Straits Times/Shin Min/Asia News Network)An Indonesian maid fell to her death from the ninth floor of a Woodlands flat on Thursday, apparently while cleaning windows.
This is the eighth incident of a maid meeting such a fate this year. Last year, four maids died this way.
The latest incident happened at about 6:20 p.m. at Block 801 Woodlands Street 81. A stool and cleaning materials were believed to have been found next to the window that the 25-year-old fell from.
A first-floor resident, who said he heard a loud thump, looked out of the window and saw the victim lying on a grass patch. "She hit the roof of the small balcony attached to my flat first before falling onto the grass," said the 18-year-old, who did not want to be named.
"The sound was so loud, I thought a car accident had happened," added the student.
According to him, the two children of the maid's employers were also at the scene and looked very shocked.
Neighbors said the maid had been working for four to five months for a family of four. The couple have a son in secondary school and a daughter in primary school. Neighbors described the victim as small-built and quiet.
According to Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily, only the children were at home when the incident happened.
On Friday, the parents declined to be interviewed when The Straits Times visited their flat.
In the past five years, 24 maids have fallen to their deaths while working. Some 14 employers have been fined for putting their maids in the way of danger.
Contacted on Friday, Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, emphasized that safety precautions have to be taken. “Employers should look at alternative ways to hang the clothes or clean the windows if it's too dangerous,” said Halimah, who has spoken out several times before about the welfare of maids.
On Tuesday, The Straits Times reported that migrant worker group Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics had started a petition to ban maids from cleaning the outside of windows.
When contacted, the Manpower Ministry said it is “gravely concerned” about the recent spate of accidents involving maids. “We will also continue to explore what more can be done with our relevant stakeholders to prevent such unnecessary deaths,” said a spokesman.
Police are investigating Thursday's incident as an unnatural death.
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