Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam revealed on Wednesday (16 September) that he would be delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament next month, in regards to former maid Parti Liyani’s acquittal of theft case.
He said this to reporters at a Home Team Event, and noted that it would be good to discuss the issue in Parliament.
Mr Shanmugam’s comments came following questions filed by a number of MPs, including Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim. The MPs has also asked for an adjournment motion on the case for Parliament to debate at its next sitting.
For those who are not aware of the case, on Friday (4 September), the High Court dismissed the convictions of Parti Liyani, an Indonesian domestic worker on four theft charges brought against her by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), four years after she was first arrested by the Singapore Police at the Changi Airport.
Parti was the ex-domestic helper of Changi Airport Group Chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family, and had worked for them for eight years. She was arrested in December 2016 after returning to Singapore as there was a warrant out for her arrest.
Mr Liew had earlier filed a police report against her two days after her service was abruptly terminated and she was sent back to Indonesia, claiming that she had stolen valuables from family members amounting to S$50,000.
After a series of investigations and court hearings, Parti was sentenced 26 months of imprisonment by District Judge Olivia Low on 25 March 2019. However, Justice Chan Seng Onn of the High Court overturned the conviction earlier this month, effectively clearing the Indonesian national of all charges made against her.
Following the 46-year-old domestic helper’s acquittal, Mr Liew has since stepped down as chairman of CAG and Surbana Jurong.
Last week, Mr Shanmugam said that the authorities take the judge’s comments very seriously, and will deal with what went wrong in the process of investigations. He also noted noted that it was good to see that justice has been served, based on the High Court’s judgment.
Voicing his thoughts on the reviews, Mr Shanmuugam said: “In the process, we should not be defensive. It should not be a witch hunt. It’s good to be a fair process. We have to find out what happened, why it happened and then deal with it. And be accountable. That’s the best way to build trust in public, in the system. To come out in public and say what steps we have taken once the reviews are done.”
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the Law Minister stated that it would be good to “openly set out what happened and deal with the questions”.
Earlier in the day, WP pointed out in a statement that Ms Lim has filed an adjournment motion to discuss about the issue of equity in the criminal justice system. There is also another adjournment motion filed by Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua on people with disabilities, as well as on who will speak at the sitting will be determined by ballot.
Other MPs who have filed questions on Parti’s case include Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai, Sembawang GRC MP Vikram Nair and Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng.
Mr Murali wants to know what happened in the investigation of the case, while Mr Nair is asking what the Ministry of Law’s internal review has found out about the handling of the matter by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
On the other hand, Dr Tan highlighted on his Facebook post that residents of Clementi “felt deep disquiet” on what had unfold in the case. He also wanted to find out the statistics on domestic workers accused of theft.
Commenting on this, Mr Shanmugam said that it was good to see that both PAP and WP MPs “appear to be very interested” in the Indonesian domestic worker’s case.