Characterist in the news: Couple jailed for sending domestic helper home when faced with police investigations (17 December 2021)

20 December 2021 | Adrian WeeRachel Soh

Characterist LLC’s Rachel Soh represented Syed Mohamed Peeran Syed Ameer Hamza at his plead guilty mention on 17 December 2021.

Syed Mohamed Peeran pleaded guilty to two charges. The first charge under Section 204A of the Penal Code was for obstructing the course of justice in furtherance of a common intention between him and his wife, Sabah Parveen. The second charge under Section 22(1)(d) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, was for abetting one Mr Suresh Murugaiyan to make a false declaration in an MOM work permit application for a domestic helper.

Two other charges under Section 22(1)(a) of the EFMA were taken into consideration in sentencing.

In 2015, Syed was notified by the MOM that his household had been placed on the MOM blacklist until 30 June 2019, in connection with charges against Sabah relating to treatment of a previous domestic helper. Compensation was made to this previous domestic helper, and the offences were subsequently compounded. 

However, the MOM did not lift the prohibitions on the household despite the offences being compounded. This meant that if any member of the household attempted to hire a domestic helper while on the blacklist, their application for a work permit would have been rejected.

In 2018, Syed recruited Ms Aminah as a domestic helper. As he was based in Hong Kong for work, he wanted to provide additional support to Sabah, who was singlehandedly caring for their two children and managing the household in Singapore.

On Syed’s behalf, Mr Murugaiyan made an application for a work permit for Ms Aminah, in which Mr Murugaiyan was declared to be Ms Aminah’s employer. This work permit was accepted by the MOM as Mr Murugaiyan was not on the MOM blacklist. This forms part of the subject of the second charge.

Ms Aminah worked in Syed’s household from 17 July 2018 to 24 January 2019.

In late 2018, Syed and Sabah agreed that the family would relocate to Hong Kong to join Syed. As such, the family made a preparatory trip to Hong Kong in December 2018 to select suitable accommodation and move some of their belongings over. The plan was then to return to Singapore to resolve any remaining matters before a permanent relocation in January 2019.

In December 2018, Ms Aminah informed Syed that she wished to return to Indonesia for personal reasons. Syed was agreeable to this and suggested that Ms Aminah remain with his household in Singapore until the intended relocation in January 2019.

Unfortunately, Ms Aminah was under the misconception that she would be expected to relocate to Hong Kong together with Syed’s family on 26 January 2019. On 24 January 2019, Ms Aminah thus made a call to the Centre for Domestic Employees, who contacted the MOM. Police officers were then dispatched to Syed’s residence on the same day.

Following these events, a flight ticket was purchased for Ms Aminah to return to Indonesia that very night. By taking steps to cause Ms Aminah’s departure from Singapore in such a manner, the first charge of obstructing the course of justice was brought against Syed and Sabah.

Following consideration of written and oral sentencing submissions by both the Prosecution and the Defence, the Court sentenced Syed Mohamed Peeran to 36 weeks’ imprisonment in total, being 28 weeks’ imprisonment in respect of the first charge and 8 weeks’ imprisonment in respect of the second charge, with both sentences to run consecutively.

Syed and Sabah had initially claimed trial to the charges against them. This has been reported on at:

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