Dead maid's body driven 200km in macabre trip

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 January, 2010, 12:00am

Police have arrested six people over the murder of an Indonesian maid whose corpse was transported on a macabre 200-kilometre journey that has stunned the country.

Nurul Aida, 31, apparently died at her employer's home in Malacca last week. Two women then put her corpse into a car and proceeded to take it to the capital, ultimately to hand it over to officials at the Indonesian embassy.

But before going to the embassy, the pair - an agent with a maid recruitment agency and her friend, neither of whom have been named - tried to persuade undertakers in the city to cremate the body. They all refused for lack of a death certificate.

It is not known whether the two women were involved in the death of Nurul, who was from the village of Bogak Besar in Indonesia.

The two women told embassy officials and hospital authorities that Nurul had died of an illness, but a postmortem examination showed she died of severe blows to the stomach and head.

Police said the women drove to Kuala Lumpur with the body lying on the back seat. When they arrived they took it to several undertakers asking them to cremate it, offering cash for the job and telling a 'lame story' that the maid had 'fallen in the kitchen and died', police said. But they were turned down for lack of a burial certificate, which is usually issued by the hospital authorities.

The pair then struck on the idea of handing the corpse over to Indonesian authorities and headed for the embassy, where they arrived at about midnight on Friday. There, shocked officials refused to accept the body and advised the women to take it to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, about 5 kilometres away.

They reached the hospital at about 3am, where doctors were immediately wary of the 'highly suspicious circumstances' of a corpse that was beginning to decompose, police said. The hospital called the police, who ordered an immediate autopsy and arrested the women.

'I think we have wrapped up the case,' Malacca's chief assistant commissioner of police, Salehuddin Rahman, said. 'The investigation is for murder.'

State police chief Rodwan Mohamad Yusof said: 'We have arrested six people, including the maid's employers, an elderly couple, their son, the maid's agent and two helpers, over the death.' Police have released none of their names. They appeared in a magistrate's court in Malacca on Saturday and were remanded for a week to facilitate investigation.

The macabre case is the talk of the country and comes hot on the heels of several gruesome cases of maid abuse in recent weeks, including that of Muntik Bani, an Indonesian maid who was assaulted, starved, tied up in a toilet and who subsequently died of exhaustion last month.

On December 31, 162 maids were living in a shelter provided by the Indonesian embassy - victims of beatings, rape or torture. Of an estimated 370,000 maids in Malaysia, Indonesians make up 90 per cent and Filipinos constitute about 8 per cent.

Seeking shelter

The number of maids living in a Malaysian shelter provided by the Indonesian embassy at the end of last year: 162