Maid Abuse in Malaysia

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Topic:
Maid Abuse In Malaysia
Thesis Statement:
Maid abuse, which is caused by many factors brings negative effects to the victims, countries involved and communities, thus it must be curbed.

Maid abuse is no longer a new issue in Malaysia. What is maid abuse? It is known as an assault and coercive behaviour, which mainly includes physical, psychological and at times sexual too, by employer or household members of employer against a person hired as a domestic help. Malaysia is one of wealthiest countries in South East Asia and therefore acts as magnet for migrants fleeing here to work. In Malaysia, majority of the domestic workers are full time workers and most of them come from neighbouring poor countries. There are various factors that lead to maid abuse in Malaysia. The unfortunate thing is that maid abuse does not only cause both mental and physical injuries to the maids, but it also jeopardize our international friendship with countries involved. Hence, there is an urgent need to solve this social issue.

One of the major causes of maid abuse over here in Malaysia is the lack of comprehensive national policies for maid protection by our Malaysian Government. As pointed out by D’Cruz (2009), foreign domestic workers here are vulnerable as they lack of legal protection, which subjects them to any kind of working condition an employer sees fit. There is also no specific law in Malaysia on violence against domestic workers (wao.com.my). As stated by Lourdes (2008), maids are stuck in a Catch -22 situation because the second they seek for help from the authorities, their employers or agents will lodge reports against them. The Employment Act provides them the right to redress but the Immigration Acts removes it by making them illegals living here. According to Dass (2008) in Lourdes (2008), the employers will be informed by the agents that maids who misbehave would be given counselling but this counselling turns up to be filled with punishing and abusing. Maids are being told that if they repeat their mistakes, they will be sold into prostitution. Other than that, they are slapped and beaten in beaten in front of others so that the rest will feel threatened.

In addition, the maids’ very own attitude too, contributed to the many cases of maid abuse. They are not serious in their work and as an example, according to Ho, his maid washed one bucket of the family’s clothes and hid the other behind the house under a shed below the mango tree. There are maids who also tend to take advantage of their employers by stealing things and using stuff without permission. Based on Ho’s statement, many of his family’s belonging including his underwear have been stolen by his maid before. This is just a real life example of what may lead to why employers lash out all their temper by abusing the maids. The abusive mindsets and attitudes towards maids too, contribute to maid abuse. Many Malaysians have negative perceptions of migrant domestic workers which contributes to the frequency and severity of abuse. They are often viewed as culturally inferior, sometimes “less than human”, and not considered as deserving of the same respect and consideration given to other human beings (wao.com.my). Adiwara stated that Malaysians have the tendency to look down on Indonesians because of the economic gap between the two neighbouring countries. Employers misjudge the performance of the maids and scold them unnecessarily and this may be due to some shortcomings in the employers themselves. There are certain employers who are concerned that there might be a rift between the child and parent when the children are culturally influenced by the maids (wao.com.my).

Another party that should be put to blame for is the involvement of non-professional maid recruitment services, or more generally known as the maid agencies. According to Wong (2008) in Azizan (2009), a lot of money will be charged by the maid agencies and in order to meet the market...
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