The local authorities had rescued an Indonesia woman who was believed to be a forced labour victim by her employer during an operation in Ayer Tawar, Perak on Thursday (23 September).
According to a statement by the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR), the operation was conducted by a few parties, including the labour department, the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Mapo) task force and the police.
The rescue operation was carried out after the Ministry received a complaint from the Indonesia embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (20 September).
MOHR said the employer was believed to have exploited the victim by threatening that she was not legally employed after her contract ends. It was also reported that they often scolded the victim if she requested to return to Indonesia.
“The victim was physically abused and kicked in the face when she asked for the balance of her salary.” the Ministry said in a statement, according to Berita Harian.
Meanwhile, the Indonesia woman was said to have entered Malaysia with a working permit as a maid in June 2003 through an agent she knew.
After securing the job, a total of RM350 was deducted monthly from the victim’s salary for 4 months as payment to the agent.
“The victim did not have any knowledge of 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 Ministry said.
Meanwhile, MOHR said the initial investigation found that there were indications of forced labour. They also found that the victim’s work permit had expired in June 2022 and she was not paid any salaries amount to RM25,000 for 3 years, from 2018 to 2021.
They added that there are evidence that the employer had committed an offence under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007, the ministry said.
The victim was traumatised by the abuses she endured, had now been placed in a safe house in Damansara after she was given an Interim Protection Order (IPO) by the Manjung Magistrate Court.
The IPO is for a period of 21 days until 13 October for the authorities to complete an investigation paper in line with the ATIPSOM Act 2007. The investigation paper will then be submitted to the deputy public prosecutor for a decision on whether to take the employer to court.
“This operation clearly shows that the country will never compromise when it comes to the issue of forced labour, regardless of the nationality of the workers involved.” the statement said.