Family of five held as bonded slaves after failure to repay loan

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010

A FAMILY of five, including three young children, were forced to work as bonded slaves for four years after the father failed to settle a loan taken from their employer in Bahau, Negri Sembilan, Tamil Nesan reported.

Their plight came to light only after the 31-year-old man and his family fled from the estate on Dec 19 with the help of a taxi driver and approached the Astivaram Foundation for help.

The foundation’s public complaints bureau chief, Sri Sanjivan, told a press conference on Sunday that the employer, a well-known businessman in Bahau, had kept the family under tight security and had forced the family to work in the plantations.

The parents had to tap the rubber trees in the morning and work in the oil palm plantation later in the day.

“The children, aged four to 11, were not allowed to attend school and were forced to do household chores,” Sri Sanjivan said.

The family had originally taken a loan of RM5,000 from the businessman but since they could not pay back the loan, the family had to work without any wages for the past four years.

Sri Sanjivan said the employer wants the family to pay him RM13,000 for their “release”.

He said two police reports have been made, one at Air Hitam and the other at Jempol, but claimed the police had refused to get involved.

> Tamil Nesan said the press in India had sensationalised a Punjabi-styled “marriage” between South Indian actress Asin and Bollywood actor Salman Khan last week.

Asin said, however, it was only a screen marriage for “Ready” but photos of the so-called wedding had been distributed by someone and caused a stir.

> THE president of the Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations, R. Rajaretinam, has called upon the government to extend aid to the Tamil community like it had done for Indian minorities like the Telugu, Malayalam and Sikh.

The government had been giving monetary grants to various Indian minority groups but had left out the Tamilians in the allocations, Makkal Osai reported him as saying.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a > sign, it denotes a separate news item.

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