Sunday, September 29, 2013

Indonesian presidency aspirant on mission to “save” murder suspect Wilfrida Soik - ( M4L4YS14 )

Hoping to leverage on a case that has captured Indonesian public imagination, presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto will be flying to Kota Baru tomorrow with a top Malaysian lawyer for the trial of Wilfrida Soik, an Indonesian migrant worker who is facing the death sentence if found guilty of killing her Malaysian employer.

The Indonesians feel that compassion should be shown towards Wilfrida who they feel is a victim of human trafficking. Last week, Indonesian lawmakers had appealed to Putrajaya to show leniency to Wilfrida.

Prabowo has hired lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) to help Wilfrida whose case is now in the final stages of trial.

Shafee told The Malaysian Insider today that he will represent Wilfrida in court.

“Wilfrida’s case is fixed for hearing at the Kota Baru High Court tomorrow. I will be taking over the case at the submissions stage of the prosecution’s case,” he said today.

“I will be making certain applications to put the case on the right track,” he said.

Prabowo, from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) is going all out to “save” Wilfrida and is contemplating a direct appeal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Tribunnews.com online portal reported that Prabowo studied in Kuala Lumpur when he followed his father, Sumitro Djoyohadikusumo, to Malaysia. He has a good relationship with Najib as their fathers were close friends.

Wilfrida, 17, has been working since she was 12 and is a victim of human trafficking.

It was reported that in 2010, Wilfrida was approached by some men who managed to get her a job in Malaysia through the Indonesian Ministry of Labour’s agency in Belu.

To help her enter Malaysia, they falsified her papers, passing her off as an adult.

Once she arrived in Malaysia, Wilfrida was employed as a maid in the house of an elderly lady in Johor.

The old lady, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was found dead on December 7, 2010.

Wilfrida was arrested for her murder less than two weeks later.

Poempida Hidayatulloh, a member of the committee which oversees manpower affairs in the Indonesian legislature, said  Wilfrida is a victim of human trafficking and as such he urged the Malaysian government to consider humanitarian factors given its commitment to stemming human trafficking.

Poempida also said that not showing leniency to Wilfrida would go against the government’s efforts to deport illegal workers and would bring the Malaysian government’s commitment to fight human trafficking into question.

“If Wilfrida’s case continues, then her employer and the agent who had recruited Wilfrida should also be held accountable for human trafficking,” the Jakarta Globe reported him as saying.

Malaysia employs some 220,000 housemaids from Indonesia, followed by Hong Kong (152,000) and Singapore (90,000) but a number of high-profile abuse cases have led to Indonesia reviewing the supply to Malaysia and these countries.

Jakarta has also tightened the rules for its nationals working as maids in Malaysia and the Indonesian Embassy labour attaché in Kuala Lumpur, Agus Triyanto, told The Malaysian Insider last month that from 2017, Indonesian maids working in Malaysia must live outside the homes of their employers. – September 29, 2013.