Shanmugam to make ministerial statement in Parliament on ex-maid Parti Liyani's case

SINGAPORE – Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Wednesday (Sept 16) that he would make a ministerial statement in Parliament on the case involving former maid Parti Liyani, who was recently acquitted of theft.

It would be good for Parliament to discuss the matter, he told reporters at a Home Team event.

His comments came after several MPs, including Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim, said they have filed questions as well as an adjournment motion on the case for Parliament to debate at its next sitting, which is scheduled to take place next month.

The criminal case, in which the family of prominent businessman Liew Mun Leong accused Ms Parti of stealing items worth a total $34,000, has sparked an uproar and raised questions about the justice system’s treatment of people who are less well-off.

Mr Liew, 74, has since stepped down as chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong.

On Wednesday, Mr Shanmugam, replying to reporters’ questions, said it would be good to “openly set out what happened and deal with the questions”.

Earlier in the day, WP said in a statement that Ms Lim, MP for Aljunied GRC, has filed an adjournment motion to speak about the issue of equity in the criminal justice system.

However, there is at least one other adjournment motion filed – by Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua on people with disabilities – and who will speak at the sitting will be determined by ballot.

MPs who have filed questions on Ms Parti’s case include Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai, Sembawang GRC MP Vikram Nair and Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng.

Mr Murali is asking about what happened in the investigation of the case, while Mr Nair wants to know what the Ministry of Law’s internal review has found about the handling of the matter by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Dr Tan said on his Facebook post that he has met Clementi residents “who felt deep disquiet” at what happened in the case, adding that he has asked for statistics on domestic workers accused of theft.

The Indonesian domestic worker, 46, was sentenced to jail for two years and two months last year for stealing $34,000 worth of items from Mr Liew’s family, for whom she had worked for nine years.

In overturning her conviction, High Court Judge Chan Seng Onn had, in his 100-page judgment, found the trial judge’s conviction of Ms Parti to be “unsafe” for various reasons, including the way the police handled the evidence and the motive behind the allegations made by some members of the Liew family.

Mr Shanmugam said on Wednesday that it was good that both PAP and WP MPs “appear to be very interested” in the case.

Last week, he said that the authorities take very seriously Justice Chan’s comments and would find out “what happened, why it happened and then deal with it”.

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