Progress Singapore Party chief Tan Cheng Bock, in a Facebook post published on Sunday, called for the Government to convene an independent review body to assess the various authorities’ responses to former domestic worker Parti Liyani’s case. Dr Tan said that the body needs to be set up to evaluate the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ version of events and “what went wrong”.
Dr Tan stressed that solutions to the problem have to go beyond “blaming or removing personnel in question”. The review body should “make recommendations to prevent the same wrongs from re-occurring” and not undertake a witch hunt or identifying scapegoats for the missteps. “Proper accountability demands that we find the root causes for these lapses. Not just whether mistakes were caused by individual human errors”.
“We must examine if there are underlying systemic faults — whether there are any failures in safety processes, protocols, checks and balances. If not, we risk repeating the same mistakes again,” he wrote.
Dr Tan highlighted that while Singapore’s police force, the AGC, and the judiciary have performed well in the past, the apparent lapses in Ms Parti’s case “tells us that things can be better and that there are uncomfortable questions to answer as part of a reive, but answer them they must”.
“Singaporeans are waiting for good answers. And they are watching,” he concluded.
Background of the case
Ms Parti was convicted in March last year of stealing items belonging to Mr Liew and his family and sentenced to two years and two months jail term in the state courts. However, this conviction was overturned by Justice Chan Seng Onn of the High Court, effectively clearing the Indonesian national of all charges made against her.
Justice Chan in his written judgement found that Mr Liew and his family’s actions demonstrated “improper motives” in terminating Ms Parti’s employment and making the police report against her. He stressed that the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that there was no improper motive by Mr Liew and Mr Karl in making the police report against Ms Parti “just two days” after she made an express threat to alert the Ministry of Manpower about her illegal deployment to the latter’s residence and office.
The Liew family’s decision to abruptly terminate Ms Parti’s employment, noted Justice Chan, was based on items that went missing “over the years” and not those that were recently discovered to be missing around the time the termination took place.
He noted that it was “in [his] view […] not believable and it is more likely that the fear of Parti’s complaint to MOM rendered her termination urgent, at least in the eyes of the Liew family”. He stressed that the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that there was no improper motive by Mr Liew and Mr Karl in making the police report against Ms Parti “just two days” after she made an express threat to alert MOM about her illegal deployment.