Justice warriors of Singapore: Home, in particular, and Singaporeans, in general…


Home is an NGO which works to assist domestic helpers.
Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics ( HOME ) advocates for migrant workers’ rights and provides support to these workers.


Singapore’s justice warriors

Surekha A. Yadav

Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 09:02 AM MYT

By Surekha A. Yadav

SEPT 13 — Parti Liyani is not a celebrity but the 46-year-old Indonesian domestic helper is now famous across Singapore. She’s become prominent not so much for any particular talent or viral TikTok dance but for her simple tenacity.

Parti was employed by a prominent local family. Her employer was Liew Mun Leong, chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong; two multi-billion dollar corporations.

The whole affair might seem like just another dispute between employer and helper but this was a real David vs Goliath battle.

A domestic helper put her foot down regarding extra underpaid cleaning duties and had the tenacity to fight on after being accused and even initially convicted of theft. Her determination caused the downfall of one of Singapore’s most prominent corporate figures.

That a domestic helper earning a few hundred dollars a month could prevail against such a well-resourced opponent is a resounding victory for our judicial system.

The verdict and subsequent resignations make clear that there can be real consequences even for the most wealthy and powerful for violating the rights of some of the least powerful members of our society.

A lot of people actually deserve credit for making this possible.

Principally of course Parti Liyani who kept fighting on when she could have pleaded guilty at an earlier stage and would probably have simply been deported with a fine.

She bravely protested her innocence and opted to fight for her rights via the courts. Home, an NGO which works to assist domestic helpers, also stepped in and offered her shelter, financial support and worked to find her legal counsel.

Lawyer Anil Balchandani, who took on the case without charging for his time, also deserves a lot of praise. High Court Justice Chan Seng Onn delivered a very clear verdict and obviously gave the case a lot of time and thought — it lasted over 20 court sessions.

Ultimately a number of people worked very hard for very little money to make this happen and this is really encouraging.

That Parti Liyani was able to stand her ground and walk free is itself a victory and that many people were willing to give up their time to ensure justice is a victory for Singapore too.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.






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