Fri, 19 Jul 2024

HEADLINES :


Indonesian maids facing modern-day slavery in Malaysia, unlike in Singapore, HK, Taiwan: Envoy
Published on: Saturday, February 19, 2022
By: FMT
Text Size:

Indonesian maids facing modern-day slavery in Malaysia, unlike in Singapore, HK, Taiwan: Envoy
Indonesian ambassador Hermono says there have been numerous cases of maids being made to work for years without being paid.
PETALING JAYA: Indonesian ambassador Hermono, lamenting on the poor treatment of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia, has questioned why there were so many such cases in Malaysia and little to none in neighbouring Singapore.

Hermono said there have been numerous cases of maids being made to work for their employers for years without being paid, some even working for more than a decade under such conditions.

He said domestic workers from Indonesia have also faced confiscation of their identification papers by employers, long working hours without off days, and even physical abuse.

Recounting a recent case that was jointly handled by Malaysia’s labour department, he said the victim had worked for around 10 years but her employer had refused to pay her salary.

The employer, he said, had reasoned that this was justified since they were paying for the maid’s daily food and drink while allowing her to live in their residence.

“That’s an example of modern-day slavery or forced labour,” he told FMT in an interview.

“We have domestic workers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but we don’t have serious problems like here (in Malaysia). So why do we have these problems here?”

He said the cases handled by the embassy amounted to just a small portion of the cases that existed.

He said many Indonesian domestic workers face challenges in reporting their plight to the embassy or consulate-general, or are unable to run from their employers.

“They’re warned that if they run away, the police will catch them and the immigration will send them to their depot. These kinds of threats are pure elements of forced labour.”

He said the embassy has intervened in 16 cases of maids who were exploited this year alone, and had facilitated the return of over RM300,000 in unpaid wages.

In 2021, the embassy helped in a total of 206 cases, with over RM2 million paid off by the employers. There are more than 40 cases currently before the courts, he added.

However, Hermono lauded Putrajaya’s national action plan on forced labour, saying it showed the authorities’ recognition of the problem in the country.

Hermono said he hopes Jakarta and Putrajaya’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Indonesian domestic workers would be finalised within the next three rounds of negotiations between the two governments.

There have already been seven rounds of negotiations.

He said the MoU would better protect Indonesian maids through a one-channel system, which would be controlled by Indonesia, allowing Jakarta to keep track of the whereabouts of workers and to stay in communication with them.

There is also a proposed online salary system which would allow Indonesian authorities to monitor if domestic workers were being paid.

“If they miss even one month (of paying a worker’s salary), we can contact the employers through the agency and ask them why they haven’t paid.”

He said the protection of his fellow citizens was his main priority as the Indonesian envoy, adding that maids were more prone to abuse compared to other migrant workers as they worked alone and lived in their employers’ house.

* Follow us on Instagram and join our Telegram and/or WhatsApp channel(s) for the latest news you don't want to miss.

* Do you have access to the Daily Express e-paper and online exclusive news? Check out subscription plans available.

Keywords:
EditorPick





ADVERTISEMENT






Top Stories Today

National Top Stories


Follow Us  



Follow us              

Daily Express TV  







close
Try 1 month for RM 18.00
Already a subscriber? Login here
open

Try 1 month for RM 18.00

Already a subscriber? Login here