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Civil society group calls for separate legislation to protect domestic workers



Last Updated on April 10, 2018, 4:57 p.m.


Tenaganita has called upon the government to look into enacting a separate legislation to better protect domestic workers following the High Court’s decision to sentence ‘Datin’ Rozita Mohamad Ali to eight years in prison for abusing her Indonesian maid two years ago.

Tenagaita executive director Glorene Das said the government must no longer allow this form of modern-day slavery to thrive in domestic labour and to put a stop to giving political assurances that do not translate to a rights protection framework.

“Ending all forms of abuse and violence can only be realised when governance of recruitment, placement and employment of domestic workers is determined by recognising domestic work as work.

“The protection of the fundamental rights of domestic work by ensuring a system of employment where there is decent wage and decent work with respect of the dignity of persons as the framework of practice must also be upheld,” she said. 

While Tenaganita said it strongly believes that the only effective way to eliminate violence towards any person is through prosecution and lengthy imprisonment terms, Glorene said one question remained following the court’s verdict.

“Is her (Rozita) punishment sufficient for someone who voluntarily caused grievous hurt by dangerous weapons such as a knife, a floor mop, umbrella, iron rod and clothes hanger?

“Nevertheless, it is a way forward to bring to an end the climate of impunity afforded to employers and recruiting agencies who abuse, cheat, severely harm and even carry out acts that lead to the death of domestic workers, with little consequence to them,” she said.

Glorene said the answer lies in a change in the public’s perception and attitude to bring about an environment where both parties can coexist happily.

“Domestic workers manage our home and care for our children or the elderly.

“Our responsibility lies in ensuring that domestic workers are recognised with respect and dignity so that this kind of intolerable, insufferable and uncivilised act can be stopped,” she said.

Earlier today, High Court judge Datuk Seri Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah sentenced Rozita to eight years’ imprisonment and disallowed a stay of execution.

The ruling was a revision of an earlier Sessions Court decision in which Rozita was released on a good behaviour bond for five years with a surety of RM20,000 after she pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt to Suyanti Sutrinso, who was 19 at the time, and which led to a public uproar.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/civil-society-group-calls-for-separate-legislation-to-protect-domestic-work

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