Calls have mounted for a Malaysian court to spare Indonesian migrant worker Wilfrida Soik, 20, from a death sentence expected to be delivered later this week.
Wilfrida, a native of East Nusa Tenggara, was accused of killing her employer, Yeap Seok Pen, 60, in 2010. Yeap, who lived in Pasir Mas, Johor, suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was found dead on 7 Dec. 2010.
Human rights campaigners, interfaith activists, politicians and members of the public, staged a rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Sunday.
The protesters also called for more people to sign an online petition to urge Malaysia to be more lenient.
“She [Wilfrida] accidentally killed her employer in self-defense,” said Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, an NGO focusing on workers’ rights.
Migrant Care said that Wilfrida was frequently tortured by her employer from the time she took the job in late October 2010.
“We think a death sentence is too much,” said Anis, who was also present at the Sunday protest.
Anis, in collaboration with House of Representatives’ Commission IX overseeing labor issues member Rieke Diah Pitaloka, put up an online petition, change.org/saveWilfrida, which as of Sunday evening had almost 11,000
The online petition, which is addressed to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and High Court of Malaya chief judge Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, aimed to bring the issue to the global arena and garner international support for the domestic worker.
The petition explained that Wilfrida was a victim of human trafficking, which was why she was working in Malaysia.
“We hope the public sees the petition in a positive light. We hope it will not enrage the Malaysian public as they would, of course, side with the dead employer. This is not meant to trigger a fight between Indonesia and Malaysia”, Change.org Indonesia cofounder Usman Hamid said.
Migrant Care found that Wilfrida was only 17 years old when she was illegally sent to Malaysia to work in 2010, when the Indonesian government still had a moratorium on migrant workers to Malaysia.
Migrant Care also found that Wilfrida’s credentials had been falsified by scalper — her birth year was changed from 1993 to 1989 — in order for her to work.
Data from Migrant Care said that Wilfrida is one of more than 300 Indonesian migrant workers who are facing the death penalty in Malaysia.
The NGO also found that 38 are facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia; 27 in China; one in Iran and one in Singapore.
Migrant Care and Change.org Indonesia last week delivered the petition to House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), who said he would discuss the issue with his Malaysian counterparts.
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