Maid protection law in the works

PETALING JAYA: A new law to protect the rights of domestic workers is expected to be tabled in Parliament as early as next year.

“We have started discussions on the proposed Domestic Workers Act.

“We hope it can be tabled next year, at the earliest, ” Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said.

It was reported that the standalone law will ensure domestic workers have proper working hours, holidays, salaries and insurance.

On top of that, Kulasegaran said that the proposed amendments should be ready to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in the coming October meeting.

“We are still engaging with stakeholders at the moment, ” he added.

Previously, the minister announced plans to reform several labour laws including the Employment Act, to include more safeguards for workers, including maids.

Other laws to be amended are the Trade Unions Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Industrial Relations Act, according to reports.

“We want to amend these laws with the aim of better protecting workers, with more safeguards in place.

“These amendments will also ensure a higher skilled force in the country and will lead to a reduced dependence on foreign workers, ” Kulasegaran said.

On the dependence on foreign labour in the country, he said 14% of Malaysia’s workforce currently comprised legal foreign workers.

“The government aims to keep the number at 15%. In comparison, countries like the United Arab Emirates has an 83.7% foreign workforce.

“This shows that we require far less foreign labour, ” he said.

Kulasegaran added that the government had shown commitment to reduce Malaysia’s dependence on foreign workers by freezing hiring in certain sectors.

“The categories where we allow foreign workers are unskilled categories and jobs that Malaysians do not want to work in, ” he said.

As of June this year, there were 15.13 million employed people in Malaysia, based on data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia released on Aug 9.

This is a 1.8% increase from the 14.86 million employed people recorded in June last year.

The labour force participation rate in June this year stood at 68.6% – a slight increase from 68.5% in the same month last year.

Data from the department also showed that there were 521,400 unemployed people in Malaysia as of June this year.

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