Employer allegedly told 2 maids to climb onto house's second-storey glass awning to clean it: Neighbour

SINGAPORE – A domestic helper was caught on camera in 2017 cleaning a second-storey glass awning by standing on its surface, and a district court heard on Thursday (Oct 24) that she was the household’s second maid seen cleaning the awning that way.

Ms Villegas Lyn Balbao, another maid who works next door to the Goldhill Avenue house near Dunearn Road, testified that both maids had told her their employer, Belinda Huber, had instructed them to do the cleaning that way.

All three maids are Filipinas.

But when cross-examined by defence lawyer Mirza Namazie, Ms Balbao admitted that she did not know for a fact if Huber had indeed asked her maids to go onto the awning.

The 37-year-old Australian, who is a director of Huber’s, the parent company of Huber’s Butchery, is claiming trial to one count of failing to provide a safe working condition for Ms Taculad Rose Mae Mata between early June and July 4, 2017.

Responding to queries from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) prosecutor Vala Muthupalaniappan, Ms Balbao said she was ironing clothes at her employer’s house in July 2017 when she spotted Ms Mata on the glass awning.

She told District Judge Salina Ishak: “I went out to her and said it’s dangerous.”

Ms Balbao added that Ms Mata, when asked, told her Huber had instructed her to clean the awning that way.

Ms Balbao also said that Ms Mata then asked her to take a picture of her on the awning and she did so.

“I asked her ‘Do you want me to pass to MOM?… She said yes,” said Ms Balbao, adding that she did not pass the picture to the ministry.

Instead, the image was posted online and it became viral soon after.

The trial resumes on Thursday afternoon.

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