They stray for want of freedom, loneliness, better pay

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 02 May 2017

PETALING JAYA: There are good maids and not-so-good ones.

But let’s face it. It is the horror stories that grab public attention.

Noriah Mohamed, a 73-year-old retiree, has had 10 maids over the years. Two of them ran away.

She believed they wanted more money and freedom.

“They had handphones to communicate with others, whom I believe had influenced them into thinking that it was better to work in the factories,” she said.

This despite her giving them extra pocket money and clothes during Hari Raya, Noriah said.

Businessman Robert Neoh, 45, once had a Filipino domestic worker who did not come back after returning to the Philippines to see her sick mother.

The maid had just been working for a few months prior to her disappearance, he said.

“I had to file a police report and go through all the hassle with the maid agency. I have decided not to get domestic help anymore. It’s just too much trouble,” he said, adding that he believed the maid was unhappy about not getting the off days she wanted.

As for engineer Karen Singh, 30, her maid ran off to work in a restaurant that paid better wages.

“We allowed our maid to have a handphone to contact her family but I think along the way, she mixed with other people and got enticed to work at the restaurant,” she said.

Karen claimed that restaurants would not want to pay the agency fees to hire these workers, so they tempted the ones who were already in the country with higher pay.

However, she said the domestic worker was not solely to be blamed.

Karen, who lives with an aunt, acknowledged that her relative was not an easy person to work with.

“She could be demanding and did not give the maid her time off.”

There are other horror stories, albeit on a sordid note.

Take the case of an advertising agency owner who discovered her maid’s Facebook account where she posted sexy images of herself.

Eventually, the maid confessed that she had been dating a Nepali security guard at the condominium in Ara Damansara.

She also admitted to having sex with her lover at the staircase when the employer was not at home.

A divorcee, who only wanted to be known as Lee, said her marriage crumbled after finding out that her husband and the maid had sex in the house.

“My two children, who were about five and seven years old, had earlier told me about the things their father and the maid were doing. I did not think much about it because they were young and their stories were not clear.

“But one night, I heard noises coming from the back of our house. To cut a long story short, we got a divorce after that,” she said.

Malaysian Maid Employers’ Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein acknowledged that cases of domestic helpers being “naughty” was quite rampant.

However, he said that most employers and agencies could not do much to prevent such situations.

“We leave it to the employer to discipline the maid,” he said.

Maids getting pregnant, he said, would be troublesome to the employer’s family.

He cited a complaint from an employer in Penang who claimed that his maid was stealing money to support her Indonesian and Bangla­deshi boyfriends.

“I am not surprised because this is human nature. They (domestic helpers) are far away from home. They need to be comforted, so they try to destress in that way.

“These foreign men are also without their partners,” he said.

Engku Ahmad said employers who faced such situations would usually go back to the agency where they hired the domestic helper to complain or seek a new maid, if the existing one was still under the three- to six-month guarantee period.

“If it is a criminal situation (such as stealing money) then we will tell the employers to lodge a police report, but if it is not serious then we will handle it, ” he said.

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