KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians do not treat their domestic maids with dignity, said the government’s human rights commission Suhakam.
“We trample on their rights and ignore their needs to be respected and protected,” said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail in remarks on Consultation on Domestic Workers at the Malaysian Bar here.
He said incidents of abuses and in some extreme cases, deaths of workers, had given the country a bad name.
He said nine cases involving domestic workers were reported to Suhakam last year, with issues ranging from forced labour, arbitrary arrest, deportation, physical abuse to human trafficking.
There are some 130,000 documented foreign maids, 90% of who are Indonesians. However, the Bar Council says there are also an equal number of domestic helpers without work permit.
Razali recalled that in 2011, the Cambodian government announced its decision to stop its citizens from working in Malaysia, while Indonesia had also at one point in time imposed a similar moratorium on its nationals.
He said Malaysia needed a comprehensive recruitment law in line with human rights standards.
“The government must also ensure that domestic workers have access to some form of complaint mechanism, especially when their rights are violated.
“Suhakam is more than happy to be involved in any process to ensure laws and policies are in tandem with human rights principles,” he said.