27 Apr 2018
Last week saw yet another news headline depicting a tragic plight faced by a migrant domestic worker in Malaysia.
Just two months after a woman was charged for the murder of an Indonesian domestic worker, it is alleged that a local policeman took advantage of a domestic worker’s vulnerable position and raped her.
The affected domestic worker had fled from her abusive employers’ house to seek help from the police station: the one place that is supposed to render help and protection to people in need but instead she was raped. As reported by various media, she filed a police report on being raped by the police officer, who is attached to a police station in Johor.
It is disheartening to know that this woman, a migrant domestic workers , who found some courage to escape an exploitative employer and seek help, had her safety infringed on, by the very same person who was delegated to keep her safe. Instead of assisting her, the police officer took advantage of the situation on the pretext of retrieving her passport, took her to a hotel and raped her. This is a horrendous crime of lust and abuse of power. The police officer must pay for his crime in the court of justice.
It is our belief that the employer should have been called to the station to hand over the passport at the first instance, and that there should be an emphasis for the accountability of the movements and whereabouts of police officers.
It should also be standard procedure which should never be compromised on for the sake of avoiding similar crimes, that survivors are escorted by female police officers, especially when moving outside police station premises.
The survivor, likely to have come to Malaysia with high hopes and ambition to find a good means of living and in support of her family, faced cruelties she was undeserving of. Should these claims be found to be true, there will be no denying that she will have to live with the trauma from the ordeals she has faced.
Justice must prevail for such a heinous act of abuse of power and the exploitation of a vulnerable person. As such, we hope for a thorough and timely investigation into this alleged rape incident, as well as the provision of compensation for the trauma the survivor has endured, in due course. In line with our legal framework, we also hope to see that she is well represented legally.
Time and time again, we witness, hear and read on the various abuses meted out at the police stations on people, especially on migrant workers and refugees. We ask, where are the check and balances and disciplinary action taken, on the behaviors and crime committed by police officers.
Non-governmental Organizations together with SUHAKAM and HAKAM have been calling for the IPCMC to be implemented: an independent body to investigate and advise, as opposed to only the police body alone investigating their personnel. Not heeding this recommendation is what is allowing the misuse of abusive powers by police personnel.
Over the years we have seen and witnessed how these vulnerable communities of migrants and refugees are abused in police stations over and over again. They are immediately judged as the wrongdoers rather than victims of abuse. They are almost always arrested and charged or manipulated. What has happened to the system of honesty, protection and law and justice in police stations throughout the country? Our country is being threatened by the evil hands of corruption and favors.
News on the anguish and tribulations faced by migrant workers in Malaysia are worryingly frequent, and for many migrant domestic workers, their unconventional work conditions and environments further allow for more opportunities of exploitation and abuse to take place. Thus, better laws need to be enacted and enforced, in focus on the welfare and protection of the rights of domestic workers in Malaysia. The Domestic Workers Coalition has come up with a Domestic Workers Draft Bill, working with gender, human and legal rights experts in consultation with ILO Experts in Geneva to plug the holes in current legislation which has failed to protect domestic workers. The coalition hopes to present the draft bill to be tabled at parliament in the months to come.
Tenaganita asks, will the concerned domestic worker, receive true justice for what she has suffered both at the hands of the police officer whom she trusted and the employer who abused her?
We Malaysians must be seen as providers of justice against all those who commit rape and abuse of power. We need to join hands together and say NO to Rape. A rapist must be served the harshest punishment, more so if he is an officer of the Royal Malaysian Police. Force.
If you would like to keep up to date with our work, you may provide us your details as below