KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — In light of the tragic death of Indonesian maid Adelina Lisao, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has reminded all Malaysians that lives would be tougher without maids.
In a press statement today, its secretary-general J. Solomon pointed out that most married couples are income earners and there would be no one to take care of their children without the assistance of maids.
“Where would Malaysian couples be, especially where both spouses work, if we did not have these maids to take care of our homes, our children and our elders.
“The government must understand their value and make it mandatory to have potential employers certified by a specialist that they are psychologically sound to be responsible for the welfare of their maid,” said Solomon.
He said MTUC have previously asked for maids to be made a union member.
“We have repeatedly urged the government to amend the law to allow domestic maid to become a union member but sadly nothing was done.
“MTUC has on many forums urged the government to make it mandatory for these maids to have a rest day once a week, but even this simple humane request has been brushed aside,” Solomon said while also questioning whether the levy imposed to bring foreign workers into Malaysia are used for their social protection.
Furthermore, he pointed out that these maids make tremendous sacrifices leaving everything they know behind to earn a paltry wage in a distant land to send back home.
21-year-old Adelina, who was working in Penang, was forced to sleep outside next to a dog and died in a hospital on February 12 due to multiple organ failures.
The woman was rescued from her employer’s home after someone reported her situation to the office of a local parliamentarian.
“We arrived at the house and found her sitting at the porch,” Por Cheng Han, staff member for lawmaker Steven Sim, reportedly told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Penang.
“There were wounds on her hands and her face covered in bruises.”
Police have arrested a 36-year-old woman, her brother and their 60-year-old mother over the incident.
Adelina is only the latest in a string of maid abuse cases and deaths that have occurred in Malaysia.
In 2012, Cambodian maid Mey Sichan was found dead, weighing just 26.1kg with marks of physical abuse. The woman who arrived in Malaysia in 2011 was starved to death by her employers Chin Chui Ling and her husband, Soh Chew Tong.
Last month, the couple who were on death row had their sentences reduced to 10 years in prison by the Federal Court. The original murder sentence laid out in 2015 was reduced to homicide.
In October last year, a man was arrested in Petaling Jaya for allegedly abusing and raping his maid after a police report was lodged by the man's wife.
The woman, who wanted to be known only as Yanti found out that her husband had been allegedly abusing and raping the maid after she told the maid she wanted a divorce.
The 33-year-old maid had alleged that the man raped her several times over two to three months.
Another incident also took place in that same month in Kota Baru where an 18-year-old maid lodged a police report claiming that her employer had been abusing her since May.
The Sarawakian had bruises on her hands and injuries to her face. The victim claimed she was beaten with a cloth hanger and was kicked several times.
August last year also saw two Indonesian maids lodge a police report against their employer for allegedly abusing and under-paying them.
The victims, aged 20 and 22, claimed their employer had held their passports, beat them with a cane and a clothes hanger and paid them only RM600 a month.
They managed to escape and sought help from a community policing association.