Malaysia police probe alleged Indonesia maid abuse

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian police investigated a couple Monday for allegedly raping, beating and scalding their Indonesian maid in the latest such case that could strain ties between the neighboring countries.
Indonesia banned maids from going to Malaysia last year amid an outcry over a series of abuse cases by Malaysian employers. The two countries are still negotiating to ensure better protection for some 230,000 Indonesians who work as maids in Malaysia.
The 26-year-old maid from Sumatra was found wandering around a neighborhood in northern Penang state early last week and was hospitalized with "severe injuries," said Indonesian Embassy official Widyarka Ryananta.
The woman claimed her male employer sexually abused her since May, while his wife beat her when she refused, said Ryananta, who visited her in the hospital Sunday. The woman was also allegedly beaten with a belt, and her back scalded with boiling water and her breasts with a hot iron, he said.
Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob said the employers have been in custody since Friday and were being investigated for rape, causing grievous injuries and human trafficking. Rape is punishable by up to 20 years in jail and caning, and trafficking with another 20 years.