Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I am saddened by the news that Cambodian maids have become subjects of abuse and torture by their employers; a number have since met their demise. The Cambodian Ambassador Princess Norodom Arunasmy has cited three cases of abuse on maids that resulted in death, but the police denied this number. This must have resulted in a recent ruling by the Cambodian government that maids are no longer for hire to Malaysia. Isn’t this a damning insult to the country and Malaysians ought to be ashamed by this.

Earlier, it was the Indonesian government that had stopped Indonesian maids from working in Malaysia and incidents of abuse and torture of Indonesian maids by employers has repeatedly appeared in the news. But what disgusts me most is the manner in which cases are referred to the courts that usually takes several years to conclude. Isn’t there a much speedier way of handling such cases that will give confidence to the aggrieved maids and their families that our system of justice takes a serious view over cases of abuse and torture of foreign maids?

Malaysians claims to be civilized, but such brutality meted upon a fellow human being; more so upon an innocent foreign maid makes us more of a savage of the prehistoric era. To own a maid, the employer must be someone of a sound social, economic and educational standing. But how come they are so brutal, sadistic and abusive, where a normal person with enough senses would not even harm a cat or a dog. This makes me to believe that any employer that had ill treated their maid must be an insane person with animalistic instinct and does not deserve to be called a human being.

An speaking about Cambodian maids, let me say my piece about hiring a maid to upkeep my Headquarters when I was serving the UN in Cambodia during the tumultuous period of the Cambodian civil war back in 1992 which I chronicled in my book titled “United Nations Peacekeeping Operations - The Malaysian Experience in Cambodia”

The maid that we hired was a married woman in her early forties who was responsible, caring and was never late for work. The moment she arrives at the Headquarters, she would greet us with folded palms brought close to her body and with her head bowed. This is the usual Cambodian way of greeting people, and we all would reciprocate with a similar greeting. This first morning greeting is enough to make us feel honored and respected. There is so much of kindness in her and she went about her daily chores without uttering a word; let alone to complaint about anything. She would not budge into anyone’s office without a greeting, and I believe such personal character of Cambodian women prevails in most other Cambodian women, especially those from the rural areas.

Cambodian women are naturally shy and because of this they tend to fear at doing something that they are not too familiar with. However, being employed as maids, the onus is upon the employer to teach and show what and how the house work needs to be done. I suppose these maids must have gone through some basic lessons in housekeeping by their agents in Cambodia, but there are still many things that they do not know, and this must be taught and shown to them by their employer.

The experience I had in hiring maid in Cambodia, I cannot understand what drove the Malaysian employers to abuse and torture their maid. Even if the maid had faulted, abuse and torture is not the answer to discipline and teach the maid. Even animals too will not do this to their kind, so what are we then? – an animal or a human being.

I would like to see that both Cambodia and Indonesia stops sending maids to Malaysia, unless and until the two countries are fully satisfied that a thorough investigation of such abuses and torture are carried out by the Malaysian authorities and a formal finding presented to both the foreign governments. When the Somali government can conduct an investigation on the death of the Bernama photographer and a report submitted to the Malaysian government, why can’t we do the same for the abused Cambodian and Indonesian maids? Are we too proud to do that, or are we just too ignorant?

My only hope is for the authorities to act swiftly in cases of abuse of maids, and not to go around denying upon being told. Denying is not the answer, but swift and speedy action is.



Kamal Sanusi said...

Salam Dato

It is an international humiliation for this Malaysia when two countries have stopped their citizen from working as maid in this so-called land of opportunity which has turned into land of abusers & torturers. Recently there are so many negative stories about our country but what action has been made to make it positive. I do not see anything yet other than news black-out.

Our justice system is now seen efficient on the case(s) involve people who are not speaking the same language with them. Citing example issue on MB Perak, sodoMEE etc.. Other than similar cases, simpan janggut jadi taliban pun tak selesai lagi.

With the current economic, political and others pressure couple with so many things to be think of, Malaysian are now psychologically disturbed who tend to express their anger by evolving themselves from human to animal. This evolution is very obvious lately. I still wonder what Rais has to say on rape of Indon amah? Heheeheee....

Somalia has sent its DPM to meet the late photographer's family and did a PC at Parliament. Are we going to send Mahyuddin?

Oh no, cannot and why should because Cambodia is nothing for Malaysia. Not like when Malaysia apologized to China upon a video of nude suspect has to lompat katak
while in police custody being published. At the end of the day, it is a local.

Oppsss, lunch time. Better stop typing now and grap some nasi campur.

Mawar_Rimba said...

Well said Dato', i take off my bowlers hat for you.


Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Kamal,

Ramai ketua-ketua kita dah tak pandai menggunakan akal, dan kepala mereka digunakan untuk lain. Itu lah masalahnya.

bruno said...

Dato,since the time of the Vietnamese refugees invasion,Malaysia always had a bad reputation with refugees,illegals and foreign domestic workers.People should have seen the conditions in the detention camps like the ones in Johore.Filty like hell.Clothings and food were scarced from the beginning.

The locals in cahhots with the officers in charge of the detention camps,make a killing by cheating them of their gold bars.Telling them that they will be given lots of food and clothings,and ended up with some bread,rice and old clothings.

This mentality that how we should treat our fellow human beings,who are in worse situstions than us badly, has sunk into some animal brain heads.That is why,every once in a while we have been fed with news like some domestic foreign workers being treated and beaten badly,or even raped by their employers.Like one present cabinet minister who has been accused of raping his maid.Old habits sure do die hard.

Askar Setia said...

Dato', Malaysia is not a land of abusers and torturers for the act of a few scumbags.
but still, those are the act of uncivilized people.

few cases that i heard and witness, maids are the troublemakers.

Frankie said...


Yes we are a land of abusers and torturers. Just take a look at the daily verbal abuse and torture of the "ketuanan" champions and UMNO MPs against the non malays aka pendatangs for almost anything ranging from education to religion. Then take another look at the physical abuse and torture of witnesses and suspects by the MACC and PDRM resulting in more than 2,000 deaths due to "sudden death" syndrome. Yes, witnesses and suspects under the hands of MACC and PDRM all suddenly drop dead or fly out of windows.

So why are we surprised that we are accused of abusing and torturing maids from all nationalities. Abuse and torture are the favorite pastimes of MACC and PDRM with support from the UMNO led government so the malaysian public is just following the favorite pastime of abusing and torturing maids. Unfortunately the malaysian public is so stupid to think that they too will be protected by the "sudden death" syndrome frequently used by MACC/PDRM. Well, there are 3 sets of laws in this country. The best laws are for UMNO and its cronies, the 2nd best laws are for the MACC/PDRM/EC etc and the worst laws are strictly flogged out to the malaysian public.

The "good" thing about the abuse and torture of maids is that we malaysians do not discriminate against any particular nationality. We will just abuse and torture maids from any nationalities. So if Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philipines stop sending their maid, we can have Laotian, Mongolian, Myanmarese and even African maids who are suitable and ready for us to continue pursuing our favorite pastime of abuse and torture.

H J Angus said...

Unfortunately many maids are made to work really long hours and with few rest breaks.
You can see them in many homes in KL and PJ. There could be a family of 3 kids plus in-laws in 1 home and the maid has to clean and cook for 7 persons with no time-table.
Add gardening and washing 2 cars at least twice a week and the poor maid has no time to rest.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear H J Angus,

I understand your sense of anger at those who abused maids. I too feel the same. I think these abusers do not understand that maids are also human being, like them.

Yes, we do hear that some maids have ill treated their employers children. But I think there is a reason why they do that. I believe if you treat them well like a normal human being, they will also reciprocate with kindness.

If what you describe is the way employers treat their maids, then I sense disaster in the offing.