KUALA LUMPUR: Public outrage has crystallized into a Change.org petition that seeks a higher penalty than a slap-on-the-wrist meted out on a Datin for grievously injuring her teenaged Indonesian maid.
Titled "Dato: Equal Justice", the petition established by EqualJustice ForMalaysians yesterday has racked up 14,130 signatures as at 3.50pm this afternoon.
The group is hoping to get at least 15,000 signatures before sending the petition to the authorities, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Othman Said.
"We call for equal justice for the rich and poor. The crime against the maid is despicable, inhumane and clearly should result in stricter punishment than ‘good behaviour bond'," read the opening statement of the petition.
The outpouring of incredulity against the light sentencing spilled over even in the comments section of the petition.
Petitioner Sherry Wan wrote "Would a non-Datin, ordinary citizen be given the same sentence? Whatever it is, the act on its own is inhumane."
Another petitioner Maxine Lee wrote "I dislike people like the heartless Datin. She must be punished to show others as well that money and power are not everything."
It was reported that Datin Rozita Mohamed Ali was initially charged with attempted murder of her Indonesian maid, Suyanti Sutrinso, 19.
However, this was reduced to voluntarily causing grievous hurt, under Section 326 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum 20 years' jail sentence.
The accused, who pleaded guilty to the lesser offence, admitted to causing multiple injuries, including to the eyes, hands, feet and internal organs of her maid.
She had used a kitchen knife, clothes hanger, mop handle and umbrella to inflict the injuries.
Despite the severity of the offence, Sessions judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar let her off without any jail term and sentenced her to a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 for five years.
This was despite deputy public prosecutor V.V. Suloshani urging for an appropriate jail sentence on the grounds that the case received widespread coverage by international and local media.
She added that the incident also went viral on social media after a video clip was uploaded on Dec 21.
The clip shows Suyanti lying injured near a drain at Mutiara Damansara. She was found by a security guard.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali recently confirmed that the prosecution is appealing against the verdict.