AGC To Study Acquittal Of Liew Mun Leong’s Ex-Helper, Judgement Cites ‘Improper Motive’

When Ms Parti Liyani was convicted of stealing $34,000 worth of items from her former employer’s home, and sentenced to 2 years’ and 2 months’ jail, she may have thought it was all over for her.

Fortunately, the 46-year-old Indonesian domestic helper was helped by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home). She stayed in their shelter, and lawyer Anil Balchandani worked pro bono to appeal her case.

Her conviction was finally overturned by the High Court on Friday (4 Sep), but now the spotlight has turned to her former employer, Mr Liew Mun Leong.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it will study the latest judgement, citing the judge’s finding of an “improper motive” by the family of the Changi Airport Group chairman.

Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his ex-domestic helper Parti Liyani.
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High Court judge mentions ‘improper motive’

In the judgement by High Court Justice Chan Seng Onn, he acquitted Ms Parti of all 4 charges against her.

He found that the conviction of Ms Parti was “unsafe”. One of the reasons for that was,

… the existence of an improper motive by members of the Liew family for mounting the allegations against Parti

What were these “improper motives”?

Helper had been told to work at son’s house

While she was still employed by Mr Liew’s Ms Parti was reportedly told to work at the home of his son, Karl.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday (6 Sep), Ms Parti was found to have been told to work at Mr Karl Liew’s office on 2012 and 2013.

She was also deployed to his home between Sep and Oct 2016.

For illegal deployment, MOM issued a caution to Mr Liew Mun Leong’s wife, as well as an advisory to Mr Karl Liew.

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The report was made by Ms Parti in Oct 2017. However, she was sacked by Mr Liew in Oct 2016.

According to the judgement, after she was sacked, Ms Parti threatened to complain to MOM about her illegal deployment.

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Police report filed against Ms Parti

After Ms Parti went back to Indonesia, Mr Liew and his son filed a police report against her, accusing her of stealing their things.

According to Justice Chan’s judgement,

It is important to note that Parti had expressed her intention to complain to the MOM before Mr Liew filed the police report on 30 October 2016.

Ms Parti’s defence alleged that the Liew family falsely alleged that she was a thief, so she wouldn’t be able to make a formal report to MOM about her illegal deployment.

Justice Chan also found Mr Karl Liew to lack credibility as a witness.

AGC will study the judgement

After Ms Parti was acquitted, the AGC issued a statement on Sunday (6 Sep), saying it will study Justice Chan’s judgement.

This is to access whether any “further action” should be taken in this case.

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The AGC specifically cited a few points asserted in the judgement:

  1. The Liew family terminated Ms Parti’s employment and gave her just 2 hours to pack.
  2. The family allegedly hoped to prevent Ms Parti from complaining to MOM about her illegal deployment.
  3. Mr Liew and Mr Karl Liew made a police report, accusing Ms Parti of stealing, to stop her from returning to Singapore to file a complaint with the MOM.
  4. Justice Chan didn’t believe the evidence of several members of the Liew family.

Hence, in the light of the judge’s comments, the AGC said,

His findings do raise questions which warrant further investigations.

On the MOM’s part, the ministry has said it’s consulting with the AGC over whether any further action needs to be taken.

Some troubling issues raised

The judge’s comments about the case do raise some troubling issues.

What MOM found about Ms Parti’s illegal deployment is also troubling — domestic helpers should never be told to work at places other than their place of employment.

Let’s hope the AGC does a thorough investigation into the matter and takes further action if it deems necessary.

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