The news today is that the Datin and her bailor have gone missing, while the Court wanted to review their judgment.
I know, it does read like the start of a joke. Well, it is a joke, when you think about it in a dark humoured way.
Last week, Datin Rozita Mohamad Ali was released on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 after beating up her maid, Suyanti Sutrinso in December 2016. This was after the prosecution lessened the charge from attempted murder to assault.
Apparently you can’t prove intent of killing someone even if you beat them up with “a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger, and an umbrella”.
My first question since the good behaviour bond details were never revealed to the prosecution by the judge, is this – was the Datin’s passport confiscated?
Secondly, why is the bailor not named?
Do we treat migrant workers as subhuman?
Honestly, we do need to consider this question – we pay them a pittance, and treat them even worse. And I’m not just talking about maids, but even those working in factories.
Just last year, Malaysiakini published a special report on mistreatment of workers in a bird’s nest factory in Klang, Selangor.
Here’s an insane quote from the article.
According to Sundari, they were often forced to work for more than 12 hours a day – and sometimes up to 16 hours – to reach the minimum target of 15 birds’ nests a day.
If they fail, the company would deduct the amount from their monthly wage – starting from RM900, with an additional RM338 for two hours of overtime.
So, when Indonesia threatens to stop sending maids and migrant workers to us, I actually empathise and see why they need to do so.
How do we solve this?
There are no easy answers other than this – a total revamp of bringing in migrant workers altogether.
- An age floor of workers – only 21 and above
- Penalising employers for hiring illegal migrant workers, property owners for granting shelter
- A limited period for migrant workers to work here. Reduce it to 2 years. Allow appeal process, but approval is determined on setting a limit of foreign worker numbers reviewed monthly.
- An equal minimum wage for migrant workers with no exceptions
- Opening EPF and Socso accounts for all migrant workers
- Establishing a Hotline with Immigration to report abuse
- Establishing a government fund to encourage automation
- Increase foreign worker levy on all sectors, no exceptions, not to be deducted from employee salaries. This was announced last year – should be activated by today. Side question – notice any raises in prices in reaction to this? No? Why is that?