PETALING JAYA: Tenaganita has called on the Cambodian government to continue to freeze the recruitment of domestic workers to Malaysia for now.
Its executive director, Glorene A Das, said the freeze should continue until the Malaysian government makes changes to its institutional framework to ensure the recognition of domestic workers as workers.
“The Employment Act clearly fails to protect the rights of domestic workers, who continue to be recognised only as ‘servants’ under the act,” Das said.
She said this definition would continue to lead to a relationship of master–servant where the employer had total control over the worker and thus could exploit her.
“Whenever there is publicity over an abuse or death of a domestic worker, the government, through its ministers, gives political assurances that do not convert to a rights protection framework,” Das said in a statement today.
She said the government’s unwillingness to effectively address the human rights violations of domestic workers has not only increased the threat to their safety and security, but has also effectively made them into “slaves”.
Das said an agreement on recruitment, training and employment conditions by both governments was not sufficient to protect the domestic workers here as no proper legal framework for the protection of domestic workers had been put in place in Malaysia.
“If the government fails to meet the basic standards of protection for domestic workers, then it is mapping the path to forced labour and slavery-like conditions, which is a crime under our Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007,” she said.
Das said the freeze on the recruitment of Cambodian domestic workers should continue until proper measures are put in place to protect their rights.