Singapore — Ms Parti Liyani, the domestic helper whose acquittal on appeal of theft made headlines last year, flew home to Indonesia on Wednesday morning (Jan 26).

 A photo of Ms Parti, 46, at the airport departure area, surrounded by a small group there to see her off, was posted on the Facebook page of Dr Stephanie Chok.

Dr Chok volunteers at the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), the organisation that helped Ms Parti throughout the past few years.

She wrote: “FINALLY. Four years after she was arrested and put through a harrowing ordeal in which she fought to clear her name, Parti Liyani FINALLY flew back home to Indonesia this morning.”

Ms Parti had worked for the family of the former chairman of the Changi Airport Group (CAG), Mr Liew Mun Leong, from 2007 to 2016. She was dismissed on Oct 28, 2016, and flew home to Indonesia.

Mr Liew filed a police report against Ms Parti on Oct 30, 2016, as he claimed to have found items amongst her boxes that belonged to his family.

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The helper was arrested when she returned to Singapore on Dec 2, 2016.

In August 2017, she was charged with four counts of theft, which involved 144 items valued at more than S$50,000.

Two months later, she filed a report at the Ministry of Manpower, saying she had been illegally deployed to clean the home and office of Mr Karl Liew, the son of Mr Liew Mun Leong.

On March 20, 2019, District Judge Olivia Low sentenced the helper to two years and two months in jail for theft.

Ms Parti appealed against the conviction.

On Sept 4, 2020, she was acquitted of the charges of theft. Justice Chan Seng Onn noted in his decision that there was “reason to believe that the Liew family … took the pre-emptive first step to terminate” Ms Parti to prevent her from filing a complaint of illegal deployment.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Liew stepped down as CAG chairman.

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In the four years after she had been charged with theft, through her trial, conviction and acquittal, Ms Parti was unable to work. Neither did she wish to go home to Indonesia, as she wanted to clear her name.

Dr Chok wrote: “Four years during which she was not able to see her mother, and during which she tried to shield her family from the bad news. Four years on a Special Pass in Singapore and unable to work, four years living in a shelter, at each point waiting for an outcome that would drastically change her fate.”

She added that the case is not over, since the compensation hearing for Ms Parti has been postponed, “possibly” to March of this year.

There is also an coming disciplinary tribunal and a possible “disposal inquiry”.

And while Dr Chok said she rejoiced that Ms Parti was reuniting with her mother, she also highlighted the need for criminal justice reform.

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“If this case has opened the door to greater introspection and meaningful change, we need to jam that door right open and demand, scrutinise, petition, and protest,” she said. /TISG

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