Monday, July 2, 2007



Surely the Indonesia Press are doing its job ? by Farish A.Noor.

I hope our Minister of Information, Zainuddin Maidin would not accuse him of being unpatriotic for his open support of the Indonesian press report of ill treatment of foreign workers in Malaysia. Any civilised nation should be concerned and take care of the welfare of its citizens where ever they may be. The Indonesian media would be totally irresponsible if they didn't highlight the story. In the recent Lina Joy's apostasy case, Maidin slammed the BBC and accused them of trying to run down Malaysia and said "There is clear proof that the Western media will use any opportunity for 'Islamic bashing' without regard for any country as long as it practises Islamic law". Maidin, for reasons only known to himself seemed to be always in conflicts with the media.

Many Malaysians are in dire need of moral education to teach them how to treat the less fortunate with dignity and respect. The Nirmala Bonat case was the first exposure to Malaysia's hidden sham and hypocrisy. Even more shameful is the snail pace her case is moving in our hall of justice. It is over three years now and no attempt has been made to speed up the case to bring justice to the victim. Many Malaysians were equally shocked and were in disbelief when cases of maid abuse surfaced and reported in the media.What had been reported could just be the tip of the iceberg, there could be many more unreported cases where victims maybe afraid of losing their source of income and further retaliation if no evidence could be found to bring criminal charges against the perpetrator. The recent case of Ceryati Dapin, who did a death defying flight by going down through a window at the 15th floor of her employer's apartment by using a makeshift rope was another showcase of the monstrous capacity for cruelty of some Malaysian.She lost her nerve on the 12th floor and was fortunate enough to be rescued. She could have fallen down and killed herself. She must have been treated so badly, with physical and mental abuse, for her to risk her life, in order to escape from the clutches of her psychotic employer.

Even more serious was the case of R.Ganesh, an Indian national who was so badly abused and starved without food by his employer. He eventually died and went home in a coffin, to a heartbroken family.

How could some of our fellow Malaysians behaved in such a beastly manner and have no compassion whatsoever for the weak, the helpless and the poor. Was it the environment or bad upbringing that was to blame for those who meted out such inhumane treatment to another human being ?

West Malaysia and Singapore seemed to be more prominent with cases of maid abuse and seemed to be contagious to all ethnic group. Other than suffering at the hands of their employer they are also at the mercy of other predators, in the names of law enforcement. These vultures have no compassion, those that can be fleeced will be fleeced, and those who can't afford to pay, will be arrested, irrespective of whether they have proper papers or not.

In Sabah, abuse of maids or foreign workers are unheard of. Are Sabahans more civilised and more humane than their counterparts in West Malaysia ? Sabahans may not be more civilised but they certainly have more civilised manners, are more hospitable to foreigners and do not have social hang-ups about maids and labourers as being inferior to them. Middle class Sabahans have much longer history of having maids than most West Malaysians. This, maybe, was due to the close proximity to Indonesia and Philippines where vast pool of cheap labour were readily available.It is quite common to find maids working for the same employer for over twenty years or more. Most long serving and loyal employees are treated as part of the family. Even in Chinese homes, children are thought by their parents, to address their maids as kakah. In most households they are also allowed to help themselves to the same type of food that their employers eat.

In Sabahan homes, it is highly improbable, to force a maid to stay if she is not suitable for the job or if she wishes to leave voluntarily.

Empathy, is probably better understood in the "Land Below The Wind"

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