PETALING JAYA - A damning report by a Cambodian fact-finding team on the treatment of domestic workers from the country has put Malaysians urgently seeking domestic help in a deeper quandary.
A 12-page internal report, compiled following the team's two-day mission to Malaysia in December, stated that there was a "lack of legal protection" for workers who had been abused.
It also cited "insufficient commitment" from the Malaysian Government in resolving the issue following the ban imposed by Cambodia on sending its domestic workers to Malaysia.
The Phnom Penh Post reported that the team interviewed 13 Cambodians housed in rescue shelters and the victims included one who claimed to have been attacked with a pair of scissors.
Cambodia's Interior Ministry senior official Chou Bun Eng, who led the delegation also comprising officials from the Labour, Women's Affairs and Justice ministries, was quoted as recommending no lifting of the ban until proper protection remedies were put in place.
This prompted the Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) to write to the Human Resources Ministry on Jan 21, appealing for remedial action.
Pikap president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan said he had urged the Government to introduce protection mechanisms to coax Cambodia to lift the ban imposed in October 2011.
He said resolving the dispute with Cambodia should be a priority as Malaysian employers would not have to be dependent on Indonesian domestic workers.
The Cambodian Embassy, during a meeting with the delegation, is said to have cited lack of staff and insufficient resources for not being able to effectively monitor maid abuse cases.
About 30,000 Cambodian maids had arrived in Malaysia before the ban which was imposed following reports of abuse by employers.