Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia, Hermono has lamented that workers from the Republic were treated like modern-day slaves in Malaysia and that such mistreatment happens only in our country.
Speaking to FMT in an interview, Hermono said they have little to no such cases in the neighbouring countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
According to Malay Mail, Hermono said there have been numerous cases of maids being made to work for their employers for years unpaid, some even working for more than a decade under such conditions.
Even worse, he said domestic workers from Indonesia had their identification papers confiscated by their employers in Malaysia.
Hermono also recounted Indonesians who worked long hours without rest days and those who suffered physical abuse by their employers, adding that domestic workers who work alone and live in their employer’s residence are more likely to suffer abuse.
He said these abused maids could not flee from their employers or have challenges in informing the Indonesian embassy or consulate-general.
“They’re warned that if they run away, the police will catch them and the immigration will send them to their depot. These kinds of threats are pure elements of forced labour,” he said in the interview.
Hermono then cited the recent case in Malaysia, where an employer who justified not paying salary to a maid for approximately 10 years by saying she was allowed to live at their house and that they were paying for her food.
“That’s an example of modern-day slavery or forced labour… We have domestic workers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but we don’t have serious problems like in Malaysia. So why do we have these problems here?”
Malaysia and Indonesia are currently in talks for a new worker deal and Hermono has lauded Malaysia’s national action plan on forced labour, saying it showed the authorities’ recognition of the problem in the country.
With this, he envisions a new deal that will better protect Indonesians employed as domestic workers in Malaysia.
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