PUTRAJAYA, Sept 25 — An Indonesian woman, believed to be a victim of forced labour by her employer, was rescued in an operation in Ayer Tawar, Perak on Thursday.
According to the Human Resources Ministry, an integrated rescue operation by the Labour Department (JTK), the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (MAPO) task force and the police was carried out following complaints and information from the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (September 20).
The Human Resources Ministry said the employer was believed to have exploited the victim by threatening that she was not a legal employee and often scolded the victim if she wanted to return to her country of origin.
“The victim was physically abused, namely, being kicked in the face when she asked for the balance of her salary,” the ministry said in a statement today.
The Human Resources Ministry said the woman entered Malaysia legally with a work permit as a maid in June 2003 through an agent she knew.
After securing the job, a sum of RM350 a month was deducted from the victim’s salary for four months as payment to the agent.
“The victim did not have any knowledge on this matter because she handed everything over to the agent and no written contract was made regarding the employment process, including payment to the agent,” the statement read.
The Human Resources Ministry said the initial investigation found that there were indicators of forced labour against the victim, whose permit expired in June 2020, including unpaid salaries for a period of three years from 2018 to 2021, totalling about RM25,000.
Indicators also showed that the employer had committed an offence under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007, the Human Resources Ministry said.
The ministry added that the victim, who was still traumatised, was placed at the Central Zone Shelter in Damansara after she was given an Interim Protection Order (IPO) by the Sri Manjung Magistrate’s Court on the same day she was rescued.
The IPO is for a period of 21 days until October 13 to complete an investigation paper under the ATIPSOM Act 2007 conducted by JTK, and the investigation paper will be submitted to the deputy public prosecutor for review and decision.
“This (operation) clearly shows that the country will never compromise on the issue of forced labour regardless of the nationality of workers involved,” the Human Resources Ministry said. — Bernama