Tuesday, June 9, 2009

They may be maids, but do respect their religious beliefs

This is one of many unreported cases of maid abuse that happen daily in Malaysian households.

If physical abuse is not enough, bigotry has often driven some employers to transgressing even boundaries of respectability when they force their maids of different faiths to break religious boundaries, such as forcing them to consume or handle pork.

We talk to freedom and respect for the individual rights, and yet such things that happen in our very own households are ignored...

"For three years, Indonesian maid Siti Hajar endured constant beatings and was fed plain rice.
 Siti Hajar escaped from her employer with the help of a taxi driver
Siti Hajar escaped from her employer with the help of a taxi driver
She was offered pork with the rice, which she, as a Muslim, refused. Neither did she get her RM500 monthly wages.

Recently, the 33-year-old was scalded by her temperamental employer.

Unable to bear the pain and constant abuse, Siti knew she had to get away. She made her break early yesterday.

She ran from her employer's posh residence in Lanai Kiara Condominium in Mont Kiara here at 1am and hid in some bushes until sunrise when she stopped a passing taxi.
With not a sen on her, she begged the taxi driver to take her to the Indonesian embassy. Seeing the state she was in, the man took pity on her her and drove her to the embassy, even giving her RM10 as pocket money.

Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Tan Sri Da'i Bachtiar said the traumatised maid, who is from west Java, arrived at the embassy in Jalan Tun Razak at 8.30am.

"We are grateful to the taxi driver."

Da'i said embassy employees were shocked by the extent of Siti's injuries.

He said Siti arrived in Malaysia on July 2, 2006, and was employed with another person for four days before she was sent to her current employer.

He said after interviewing Siti, embassy officials took her to the University Malaya Medical Centre for a check-up and to lodge a police report.

Da'i said the officials later contacted Siti's agency to obtain her employer's phone number.

"We called her employer and asked her to settle Siti's salary, which is around RM17,000," said Da'i, who claimed the employer, a 43-year-old woman, went to the embassy yesterday at 11am and willingly admitted abusing Siti.

"She cried and apologised for abusing Siti," he said.

Brickfields police chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said the police report was lodged at noon at the Jalan Travers police station.

The employer was later arrested by police outside the embassy and will be brought to the magistrate's court today for a remand order." - From NST