Hau Yuan Tyng, 43, pleaded not guilty in a Kuala Lumpur court Thursday to three charges of causing hurt to Siti Hajar Sadli _ in one case allegedly using hot water; in another, a hammer; and in a third, a pair of scissors.
If found guilty, the single mother of two could face a maximum of 43 years in prison and whipping, he said.
Hau also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of failing to renew Siti Hajar's work visa, which expired in July last year, an offense that carries a jail term of up to a year, Manoharan said.
Hau, who worked part time at a maid agency, was released on bail pending the next court hearing on July 22 but has to surrender her passport to the court and report to police regularly, he said.
Siti Hajar, 33, escaped earlier this month after working for Hau for three years in a luxury condominium. Photographs of Siti Hajar's reddened, scalded body were widely publicized, sparking anger in neighboring Indonesia.
Some 320,000 foreigners, mostly Indonesians, work as maids in Malaysia. Most complain of unpaid wages, but some also claimed they were physically abused.
The Malaysian government earlier this week said it would change its labor laws to give maids a weekly rest day and other benefits such as compensation for accidents at work. They will also get a list of telephone contacts for embassy, police and welfare officials to report abuse.