PETALING JAYA: Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim today condemned the death of a maid who was allegedly abused by her employers, warning that if human rights are not protected for everyone, Malaysians too could fall victim to such acts.
Sim, whose staff were alerted to the situation by neighbours on Feb 10, said 21-year-old Adelina had been “totally deprived of basic human rights”.
“Even if we are not altruistic and do not care for foreigners, allowing gross human rights violations to go unchecked will eventually corrupt the system of protection not only for migrants but also for Malaysians.
“If someone can be subjected to workplace bullying, violence and even be tortured to death here in Malaysia, what makes us think that the next person will not be a Malaysian?” he said in a statement.
According to neighbours, Adelina had wounds on her hands and legs and had been spotted sleeping next to a Rottweiler every day for almost two months.
Neighbours also claimed that loud screaming was common every other day.
She died from her injuries at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital yesterday.
The case was initially classified under Section 324 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means. However, police later said it would be investigated for murder.
Calling Adelina’s death “a senseless loss of life”, Sim added that hers was not the first such case.
He pointed to another Indonesian maid, Jubaedah, whom he said died last February after allegedly being abused by her employer.
In 2015, meanwhile, he said, a couple were sentenced to death for the murder of their Cambodian helper, Mey Sichan. The sentence was later changed to 10 years in jail.
“These tragic cases are the extremes, but they demonstrate the total lack of protection for migrant workers in our country.
“While deaths are perhaps rare, migrant workers including domestic workers are constantly facing all sorts of abuse,” Sim said.
With some two million legal migrant workers and possibly two to four million illegal workers in the country, he said better laws were needed for their protection.
He added that the exploitation of migrant workers was both a human rights issue and a socio-economic problem.
“Firstly, one can only imagine the social upheaval if two to six million people are being bullied and oppressed on a regular basis.
“In 2014, about 1,000 migrant workers rioted in a factory in Johor because of resentment over bullying by their employer.
“Secondly, when migrant workers can easily be exploited, the local job market will be affected as well.”
Sim said if migrant workers with little to no protection were easily available, they would always be the preferred choice for employers.
“This scenario creates a situation of competition to the bottom in our local job market, with Malaysians having to either lower our own demands or risk unemployment especially for those at the bottom of the employment ladder.
“Ultimately, this competition to the bottom will affect everyone.”