The remains of 34-year-old Nurhidayati Wartono Surata, a domestic helper from Indonesia, were found at the Golden Dragon Hotel in Geylang on the evening of Sunday, December 30. Her alleged killer, Ahmed Salim, a 30-year-old Bangladeshi man, was arrested the following day.
If he is convicted, Salim could possibly face the death penalty.
When Nurhidayati’s body was discovered, the helper had bruises on her arms and strangulation marks on her neck. Her mother and stepfather were called by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore on Monday, December 31, and informed of their daughter’s death.
This came as a complete shock to Warsem, the mother of Nurhidayati, who had spoken to her daughter only the day before.
According to Nurhidayati’s stepfather, Muradi, the Indonesian Embassy took care of the victim’s body.
Speaking to the Indonesian news site Liputan6, the victim’s mother said she believes that Nurhidayati had been killed by Salim because she refused to become Salim’s mistress. Warsem knew about Salim since her daughter had often talked about her life in Singapore.
According to Warsem, “Salim was arranged to be married to a Bangladeshi woman by his parents, but he didn’t want to let go of my daughter as his girlfriend.”
Warsem said her daughter had confided that she had tried to break off her relationship with Salim several times, but he had refused to let her go. Warsem had even told Nurhidayati to find employment in Hong Kong just to escape from Salim, but her daughter chose to stay with her Singaporean employer.
During her last phone call to her mother, Nurhidayati said that she was about to pay back a debt of S$ 476 (IDR5 million) to Salim on that fateful Sunday.
She was also going to sever their relationship for good and would be coming home to West Java by mid-January since her contract with her employer was ending.
Muradi called Nurhidayati the “backbone of the family.”
Nurhidayati had had a house built for Warsem and Muradi and was saving up for a smaller house for herself in her later years. A divorcee with an eleven-year-old son, her parents say that Nurhidayati concentrated on raising and educating her son, was not interested in having a relationship, and had been working in Singapore for the past six years.