Non-Muslim employers can continue to hire Muslim workers


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 May 2003

BY NICK LEONG

PUTRAJAYA: Non-Muslim employers can continue to hire Muslim maids, following a decision to maintain the current ruling on foreign domestic help. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the foreign maids, however, would be required to sign an agreement letter declaring their willingness to work for non-Muslim employers. 

“Employers will also be asked to sign a letter saying they will respect the rights of the maid to perform her religious obligations. 

“They must not force the maids to consume non-halal food,” he told reporters after launching the smart card for children, MyKid, at the Home Ministry yesterday. 

Abdullah, who is Home Minister, said foreign maids could lodge complaints to the authorities should their employers flout the letter of agreement. 

“They can complain to the relevant authorities if there is a breach of the agreement,'' he added. 

Under the current ruling, employers and maids are not required to be from the same religion. 

However, Home Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Abu Zahar Isnin said recently that the Government planned to introduce a ruling requiring employers to hire maids of the same religion as theirs to create a “more conducive” work environment.  

Abdullah said that maids from Indonesia, who are predominantly Muslims, could work for non-Muslim employers if they chose to do so. 

“This is our policy. It is based on the willingness of both sides. Some of the maids want to work (with non-Muslim employers) and we cannot stop them. They – especially the single mothers – want to support their family back home,'' he said. 

 

“This will mean that maids who are already employed here can continue working with the families they are attached to,” he said.  

 

Foo said the association would play its part by helping to ensure that there was harmony between Muslim foreign maids and their non-Muslim employers. 

“Our association members can mediate in any problem. We can provide advice to employers and counselling to the maids should the need arise,” he said, adding that the Immigration Department should blacklist employers who did not respect the religion of their maids. 

He said the association would also like to call on the Government to increase the number of countries where maids could be sourced from such as Nepal, Myanmar and Vietnam, so that there would be less dependence on Muslim maids. 

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