News/Malaysia: Tighter rules on employment of foreign maids

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Subject: News/Malaysia: Tighter rules on employment of foreign maids
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Feb 18 2000 - 08:48:40 EST


Tighter rules on employment of foreign maids
By Jalina Joheng
New Straits Times (Malaysia), February 14, 2000

KUALA LUMPUR -- The Immigration Department will review rules pertaining to
employment of foreign maids, its director-general Datuk Aseh Che Mat said
today.

He said the department would tighten the rules to protect the interests of
maids and employers.

Aseh told the New Straits Times today the department was studying the
matter before submitting a proposal to the Home Ministry.

Aseh, however, declined to elaborate on the new rules but said that these
would benefit all parties concerned.

This, he said was in view of the recent cases of maid abuse as well as
reports on maids who ran away from their employers.

Recently three Indonesian maids were reportedly abused by their employers.

Two of the cases were exposed by the department.

One of them was Nurjanah Matyak, 40, who alleged that she was hit on the
head with a cane several times. The cane was also used to poke at her gums.

Nurjanah was rescued from her employer's house at SS5, Kelana Jaya, on Jan
19, after neighbours lodged a report on hearing screams for help.

Following the incident, the Immigration Department banned Nurjanah's
employers from employing any foreign maids.

Nurjanah's employers were a civil servant and his wife, a former executive
officer of a company.

The 50-year-old former executive officer has been charged with voluntarily
causing greivous hurt on Thursday.

"The rules will be tightened to ensure that these problems are solved once
and for all," he said.

Aseh said the department was not blaming any party but was looking for ways
to address the problems.

On maids who ran away from their employers, he said the department was
investigating the problem.

He did not rule out that cultural shock could be one of the reasons they
ran away.

"It could also be due to ill-treatment by their employers," he added.

At present, there are 150,000 foreign maids working in Malaysia, with the
majority being Indonesians.

He urged those with information on foreign maids being abused or who ran
away from their employers to inform the department or lodge a police report
immediately.

He said the department would work closely with foreign embassies to help
bring the offenders to book.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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