WITH three kids to feed at home, young unemployed mother Lai Li Pink decided it was no longer reasonable to get by on just her husband’s paycheck.
As her husband, 29, is only earning a little more than RM1,000 a month as a mechanic, the 25-year-old thought it was a good idea to find a job as it would help them provide better for their children, aged one between one and nine.
In January, using Facebook she found a job with a company that provides cleaning services in Ipoh.
However, little did she know that she would be at the mercy of an employer she claims failed to pay her salary multiple times.
Lai is also being accused of stealing money from a client by her employer, which was conveniently used as a justification for his refusal to pay her.
“It all started when I found their job vacancy on Facebook. I saw that they were offering the job of a cleaner with a salary of RM1,400 a month.
“The job also listed that transportation to work would be provided. It seemed like a great deal at the time, so I contacted the employer through Facebook,” she said.
During Lai’s conversation with her employer in January, she learned that she was hired right away and could start work as soon as she agreed to it because an interview was not necessary.
“I started work on the third week of January. I explained to my employer that I could not work the hours asked of me, which was Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm, because I had to take care of my children.
“He was understanding about it, so he told me that my salary would be calculated as RM54 daily. He picked me up in his van and sent me to the homes of his clients who requested a cleaning service.
“I was never brought to his company’s office, nor was a work contract drawn up for me,” she said.
After the first month, Lai said she felt a sense of dread when the employer did not pay her at the end of January as promised.
“He told me that I would be paid at the start of February, but that was also not the case,” she said.
This continued until Feb 26, when Lai decided to quit her job after talking the matter over with her family. She also asked her employer to pay what he owed her.
“But he asked me to help him clean a house one last time, after that he would pay me. I agreed to it.
“I was taken to a home somewhere in Gunung Rapat to clean. No one was home at the time.
“Once I was done, my boss still refused to pay me, saying that he needed some time to calculate my total salary and it would be paid to me after a few days,” she said.
“He only got back to me later and said that he would not be paying me because he accused me of stealing money from his client on my last day of work at the house where no one home.
“He accused me of taking his client’s children’s ang pow money. I felt angry at this accusation, so I asked him for his client’s contact number so that I could talk things over.
“Just like my pay, he refused to give me the details,” she said.
Desperate, Lai sought help from Pasir Pinji Assemblyman Howard Lee, as she is looking for a way to clear her name and get back her salary amounting to RM1,216 during her 19 days employment.
“I don’t have any money. And I have to feed my kids instant noodles to get by,” she said as her face turned red with tears during a press conference called by Lee at the State Labour Department last Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Lee said he managed to sit down and have a talk with Lai’s employer on the issue, but he seemed extremely reluctant to give the details of the client who owns the house where the alleged theft occurred.
When contacted, Ipoh Deputy OCPD Superintendent Abdul Rani Alias confirmed that the Lai had lodged a report on the matter, but none was received from the employer who accused of theft. Abdul Rani also said that no report about the theft of money from a home had been lodged