More maid cases going to tribunal


JOHOR BARU: Maids have refused to work with employers, complained about being homesick, or had health issues, including mental health issues.

These are just some of the increasing number of cases involving maids that were brought before the Johor consumer claims tribunal, said state exco member Lee Ting Han.

He said 22 cases were recorded last year, compared with three in 2021. In 2022, there were approximately 17 cases.

Other issues involving maids included those who were not legally brought into Malaysia, as well as maids whose resumes did not match those provided by the agency, he said.

Lee said in some cases, the tribunal president directed agencies to repay employers within a reasonable limit.

“There were also claims that have been rejected due to the nature of contracts signed by maid agencies and employers,” the state investment, trade, consumer affairs and human resources committee chairman said in an interview.

He also said the tribunal does not have the power to blacklist a maid agency.

However, in the event that there are more than one case filed against a particular company, he said the tribunal would refer the matter to the state Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry enforcement unit.

Lee urged maid agencies to be honest and not bring in problematic workers, adding that employers are paying a lot of money to get the right sort of maids.

“If a maid is hired to take care of an infant, she should not be expected to take care of elderly people at the same time,” he said, adding that employers should also be reasonable and responsible.

Malaysians who want to file a claim with the tribunal can do so online via their tribunal website at https://ttpm.kpdn.gov.my.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said his department had also received complaints about domestic helpers who were suffering from “mental health issues.”

“Some cases involved maids allegedly experiencing hysteria, believed to be due to ‘bad spirits’.

“The employers often request a refund or replacement maids, claiming their maids had mental health problems,” he said.

However, Chong said it was important to hear both sides of the story.

“We don’t trust employers without hearing from the maids. But direct communication with the maids is not always possible. We usually only have access to agents who cite reasons such as overwork and mistreatment of maids by employers.”

Chong also said maids could suffer from a mental breakdown but agents may dismiss this claim because there is no record of such incidents.

“Typically, agents take the maid back temporarily, provide new training, and engage in further talks.

“If employers allow this, it suggests that there is a genuine problem, whereas insistence on a refund may lead to the case being referred to the tribunal,” he added.

Chong also said licensed agents would try to find a solution.

However, he said cases of pre-existing sickness and infectious diseases were rare among maids, as they are tested before they begin working.

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