PUTRAJAYA, 27 Oct 2009: Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam has directed the Labour Department to coordinate with the authorities in prosecuting employers found to have abused their maids.
“We will do everything we can to support the authorities as they take legal action against those involved,” he said in a statement here today.
The minister stressed that any case of abuse involving maids would not be tolerated in Malaysia.
He said his ministry would ensure the safety and health of workers and uphold social justice.
“The workplace rights and protection provided to our citizens are equally important to foreign workers in Malaysia, including those from Indonesia,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam’s statement comes in the wake of the death of Indonesian maid Mautik Hani, 36, from Surabaya, after alleged abuse by her employer.
“We are shocked by the allegations being made in the case of Mautik Hani. I have already said yesterday that the government viewed this matter very seriously,” he said.
In late June, 2009, Jakarta stopped sending over its nationals to work as maids in Malaysia following the case of Siti Hajar Sadli, an Indonesian maid who was allegedly hurt by her employer with hot water and a hammer.
Maid abuse is common in Malaysia because of the lack of protection they face under Malaysian laws. The most well-known case of abuse in recent memory is that of Nirmala Bonat in 2004.
Dr Subramaniam also said that the Malaysia-Indonesia Joint Committee on the employment of maids held two meetings recently, and the next meeting was scheduled to be held next month.
“At the next meeting, outstanding issues pertaining to the recruitment of maids from Indonesia will be discussed and mutually resolved,” he added.
Jakarta has frozen the recruitment of maids from Indonesia pending the outcome of the joint committee meeting.
However, Indonesia has allowed maid agencies which have already received payment from Malaysian employers to bring in maids for these employers.
Indonesia and Malaysia have put forward a list of issues that need to be resolved first before the freeze is lifted.
On Jakarta’s side, the thorny issues include the maids’ welfare and their salary structure while Kuala Lumpur has requested for the Indonesian government to review the fees which were too high and confusing, he said.
Dr Subramaniam was quoted as saying that Malaysia has suggested that the rate be standardised and Indonesia has agreed to look into it. Bernama