Call for action over maid abuse

Malaysia urged to act amid reports of desperate escape bid by abused maid.

    Spiralling cases of abuse have led to protests by Indonesian domestic workers [EPA]

    According to local media, Parsiti alleged that her employer started kicking and beating her with a cane in May, one month after she came to Malaysia.

     

    Eka Suripto, an embassy official, said Parsiti told him she was beaten with a rattan stick.

     

    "Her lips are swollen and on her left thigh she has a bruise. Certainly she is in a trauma because she escaped through the window," he added.

     

    In June cameras captured the dramatic rescue
    of another Indonesian maid [Reuters]

    The case is the latest in a long line of claims of ill-treatment by domestic helpers in Malaysia at the hands of their employers.

     

    Commenting on Tuesday's case, Irene Fernandez, director of Tenaganita, a migrant workers rights group based in Malaysia, said such incidents were "happening too often".

     

    "Each time there is a reaction that something must be done but there has been no political commitment to see it through," she told Al Jazeera.

     

    "As long as the Malaysian government does not address this fundamental issue, such incidents will continue to happen. We should feel ashamed of such incidents."

     

    In June, another Indonesian maid, 33-year-old Ceriyati Dapin, made a dramatic escape bid, climbing out of the window of her employer's 15th floor apartment with a rope made of towels, sheets and clothes.

     

    In the latest case, a security guard told Malaysia's New Straits Times that Parsiti said she had been kept a virtual prisoner by her employer who had installed a closed-circuit television camera in the house to monitor her.

     

    Raw deal

     

    "At the end of the day, we consider such practices bonded labour"

    Irene Fernandez, Tenaganita director

    Fernandez said the Malaysian and Indonesian governments were indifferent to the plight of Indonesian maids who were getting a raw deal compared with Filipino domestic helpers.

     

    "Filipinos have a standardised contract, the support of their government and the required days off from housework," she said.

     

    "There is monitoring by the embassies and the Filipinos attend skills development programmes during their days off."

     

    The only way to reduce incidences of abuse and violence against maids is to ensure that their rights are protected, she added.

     

    "In the case of Indonesian maids, the contract is between the agency and employer. nothing with the worker," said Fernandez.

     

    "At the end of the day, we consider such practices bonded labour."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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