News/Malyasia: Most foreign maids who run away underage

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Subject: News/Malyasia: Most foreign maids who run away underage
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 10:34:35 EDT


Most foreign maids who run away underage
New Straits Times (Malaysia), February 23, 2000

KUCHING, Tues. -- The majority of the 20,000 foreign maids who ran away
from employers or were abused were below the minimum age requirement of 25.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Aseh Che Mat said today that
Immigration officers should enforce the age limit to ensure that maids who
worked here were mature and responsible.

"Problems of maids running away or being abused can be solved if the maids
who enter the country are mature. Most of them who slipped through the
check-points are under-age," he said last night.

Speaking after opening a four-day conference on streamlining Malaysian
passport administration for 52 staff of the department, Aseh said under-age
maids had little or no experience in handling household chores.

"They look 18 or 19 years old, although their documents state that they are
older," he said, adding the under-age maids could have tampered with their
documents to increase their age.

Aseh said their inexperience could affect their relationship with their
employers.

"From our observation, it would be better for employers to personally look
for the maids themselves instead of relying on agents," he said.

This would enable them to determine whether the maids had experience in
household chores.

He also advised prospective employers not to rely too much on employment
agencies, but to look for the maids themselves.

Aseh also said the time taken to process passport applications would be
reduced from five to three working days in a move to improve services to
the public.

He said since issuing of passports was the main source of income, the
deparment must provide quality service.

"We also plan to reduce the replacement period for lost passports from
three months to one month," he added.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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