Friday, 28 November 2008

Let this be the 'wake-up call' to employers - Irene Fernandez

Migrant workers' rights group Tenaganita has reiterated its call for a better protection of foreign domestic workers in the wake of a court decision against homemaker Yim Pek Ha.

Yim was sentenced to 18 years in jail after she was found guilty of grievously hurting her domestic helper Nirmala Bonat.

Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez said that the jail sentence imposed on Yim "must bring out a lot of soul searching in how domestic workers are treated and employed in the country".

"Will the 18 years imprisonment be a wake-up call to employers and to all of us?" asked Fernandez in a statement yesterday. (Read Malaysiakini here)

She said that it was time for everyone to critically address the conditions that enabled employers' such as Yim to systematically and continuously harm her domestic worker.

"The power of the employer to hold her domestic worker's passport; the non-recognition of Nirmala as a worker under the Employment Act: no off-day but work very long hours for seven days a week ; and kept in isolation gave Yim the confidence and the power to abuse and belief that Nirmala will never be able to seek redress.

"It is these conditions that must be addressed. Yim will pay through her jail sentence for the grievous hurt caused on Nirmala," she said.

However, she blamed the government too for being equally responsible because the conditions of work are not regulated.

There is neither a law nor a standardised contract to protect Nirmala and all other domestic workers.

"The government provided the condition of isolation by not giving a paid day off. And consequently, it opened the doors for abuse and exploitation," she said.

Fernandez said that while it could be an end for Nirmala's case, there were many more Nirmalas in the country who were in a vulnerable situation.

Irene who was acquitted on Monday on a charge of publishing false news on ill-treatment and abuse of migrant workers after a 13-year court battle, should know what she is talking.

Tenaganita has handled more than 188 cases of domestic workers who have been abused, raped and exploited with intense human rights violations.

According to her, the government must attack the root causes of such forms of abuse and exploitation. As a priority, it must immediately recognise the conditions under which these domestic workers were working.

"There is a need to give a paid day off to all domestic workers and a standardised contract that will clearly state the terms and conditions of employment," she added.

She also urged the Human Resources Ministry to stop being silent as it is part of the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers.

"The ministry must do justice to more than half a million women who are working as domestic workers in this country.

"It is only when domestic workers are recognised as workers and protected through an effective legislation that we can say justice is done to Nirmala and all domestic workers," she said.


Anonymous said...

How come this Yim woman sentenced to 18 years in jail but today freed on a RM200,000 bail?

I hope the court will compound her passport in case she flees from the country.

She deserves what she gets, in fact she should get more years in jail.

Anonymous said...

I have seen maids who have to do everything besides taking care of the children of their employers - from washing the family's cars to bathing dogs and they don’t go to bed until late at nite. They are up at the crack of dawn.

Anonymous said...

The jail sentence should serve as a good lesson to all employers not to treat another human being like animals. Even animals don’t deserved be treated badly.

This Yim woman is a heartless creature.

Sghe doesnt have an oz of humanity.

Anonymous said...

People who are capable of extreme cruelty do not deserve to have and should be barred from having maids.

She has been served her just desserts for committing horrific acts on another human being. Let this be a warning to would-be maid abusers.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand this Yim. If she thinks that Nirmala was not up to mark she could have sent her back to the agency from where she had taken her.

Why must she subject that poor maid to physical pain putting hot iron rod on her breasts and scalding her body with hot water?

Doesnt she have any feelings at all? She certainly is evil and extremely cruel and a woman without a heart.

She deserves to be put away for 18 years.

Am glad her act of cuelty was discovered. Who knows what would have happened to Nirmala or other maids that she might have hired later.

Anonymous said...

Dunia ini hanya pinjam-pinjaman.


Anonymous said...

She should get more than 18 years. So she wants to appeal. Go ahead and I hope the court adds more years to the sentence.