How will e-wallet for domestic workers be monitored, asks Tenaganita

Last Updated on March 14, 2018, 9:56 a.m.

Human rights organisation Tenaganita has questioned the government’s move to consider the e-wallet system for foreign maids, saying a similar policy was introduced years ago but failed due to the lack of a proper monitoring system.


Glorene says it is a good idea, but warns that the move would only work if accompanied by a proper monitoring system.

Speaking to FMT, its executive director Glorene Das said in 2011, employers had been directed to open bank accounts for their domestic workers.

Dr S Subramaniam, who was human resources minister at the time, said employers were compelled to pay their domestic workers through their respective banking accounts and no longer in cash.

However, Glorene said the system had failed as it was not monitored properly.

“There were cases of employers who failed to pay any wages to their domestic workers.

“It is not a new method, and by looking back at our experiences, the question is going to be: how are we going to monitor this when there are thousands of domestic workers and agents?

“When you have a system in place, you must also have a system to monitor effectively.”

Glorene was responding to Putrajaya’s move to consider the e-wallet system which will see salaries deposited directly into bank accounts, replacing the current cash payment system.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the matter had been discussed in depth by the home ministry and the human resources ministry with the foreign missions concerned.

Ability to check account

Glorene said it was a good idea, but warned that the move would only work if accompanied by a proper monitoring system.

She said the system also put the responsibility on the domestic workers to check if their payments had been made.

“However, it has to go in line with their ability to check their account if there is misuse or abuse, by giving them freedom of movement. They should at least be given one day off in a week.

“We acknowledged that there have been many cases where employers did not bank in the wages to the domestic workers’ accounts but actually gave it to agents instead.

“So, all terms and conditions of the system must be stipulated in the contract,” she said.

Glorene also asked who would be monitoring everything to ensure the system’s success.

“Is it the human resources ministry, home ministry or diplomatic mission who will monitor the re-introduced system? There must be clarity on this.”

‘Protect the maids’

Malaysian Maid Employers Association (MAMA) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein applauded the move to reintroduce the e-wallet system.

“But it is important to know how the maids will make sure that the payments are made. Otherside, it will be meaningless,” he told FMT.

Fauzi also said it was important for maids to have access to the online system and the knowledge of how to use it.

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