Asia-Pacific

Jail term for Malaysian maid abuser increased

Advertisement for an Indonesian maid in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on 19 Jan 2011
Image caption The Indonesian ban on travelling to Malaysia to work as a maid has led to a shortage

A Malaysian woman jailed for eight years for abusing her Indonesian maid has had her sentence increased after appealing to the High Court.

The woman had been trying to get her sentence overturned, but was instead given an additional three years.

She was convicted last year of inflicting injuries on her maid using hot water, scissors and a hammer.

The case heightened an ongoing row between the two countries over the treatment of domestic workers.

The row led Indonesia in June 2009 to temporarily ban its citizens from travelling to Malaysia to work as maids - a move that has caused a shortage of maids for Malaysian households.

The case came to light when Siti Hajar, the 35-year-old Indonesian maid, escaped from Hau Yuan Tyng's house and sought help from the Indonesian embassy.

Photos of her injuries were broadcast on television channels and provoked outrage.

Judge Ghazali Cha said Ms Hau had shown no remorse.

"Maids should not be used as slaves. They have feelings and need to be protected, moreover it involves relations between the two neighbouring countries," he said.

But Ms Hau's lawyer said she was "a victim of the political situation between Indonesia and Malaysia".

More than a million Indonesians work in Malaysia, most as maids or labourers.

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