A Malaysian court has sentenced a couple to death by hanging for murdering their 26-year-old Indonesian housemaid three years ago, their lawyer said.
Defence lawyer Thong Seng Kong said the High Court on Thursday found electrician Fong Kong Meng, 58, and his wife Teoh Ching Yen, 56, guilty of killing their maid, Isti Komariyah. He said the court ruled that Isti had died of starvation because the couple had failed to provide sufficient food and medical attention.
Isti, who has worked for the couple for nearly two years, was declared dead after being taken to a hospital in June 2011. Prosecutors said she weighed only 26 kilograms (57 pounds) and had bruises and scratch marks on her body.
‘‘The court has sentenced the couple to hang for murder,’’ said Thong, adding they are expected to appeal the sentence.
Cases involving employers who assaulted their domestic workers, mainly from Indonesia, have occasionally strained Malaysia’s ties with some of its Asian neighbours over the past decade.
Indonesia banned maids from going to Malaysia in 2009, while Cambodia imposed a similar ban in 2011 amid an outcry over a series of abuse cases by Malaysian employers. Indonesia lifted the ban after the countries signed an agreement in 2011 to offer better protection and improve working conditions for Indonesian maids.
Malaysia has more than 200,000 maids, mainly from Indonesia.