General News

Roundtable Conference: Domestic Workers: The Need for a Standard and Fair Contract

The Bar Council organised a Roundtable Conference on Domestic Workers on 8 July 2009. 36 participants attended the Roundtable including representatives from the Ministry of Human Resources, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the Session Court, the AGโ€™s Chambers, the Royal Malaysia Police, foreign missions, NGOs and trade unions.

The Roundtable was organised by the Subcommittee on Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs which is chaired by Datoโ€™ Ramachelvam. The objective of the Roundtable was to address both the inadequate legal protection, as well as the absence of a standard employment contract in the hiring of foreign domestic workers and to recommend a standard employment contract to cover all domestic workers irrespective of their country of origin.

There were a total of 4 paper presentations. The Roundtable began with a welcome address by Datoโ€™ Ramachelvam. The 1st paper presenter was, Mr. Ravi Nekoo a member of Malaysian Bar, presented a paper entitled โ€œProtection Accorded Domestic Workers and the Need for Legal Reformโ€. He spoke about the need for a standard contract and suggested various terms that he feel could be incorporated from South African legislation on Domestic Workers.

Datoโ€™ Raja Zulkepley Dahalan, President of PAPA (Persatuan Agensi Perkerja Asing) presented a paper entitled โ€œLegal Reform - An Employersโ€™ Perspectiveโ€. He addressed some of the concerns of employers and spoke about the difficulties faced by Malaysian recruitment agencies.

The Consul General of Philippines Embassy Mr. Renato Villa was next. In his paper entitled โ€œSecuring the Rights of Domestic Workers in Malaysia - The Filipino Experienceโ€ he explained how pressure and lobbying work of civil society groups in the Philippines had led to the Philippines Government to take a more active role in protecting Filipinos employed overseas.

Mr. Rajen Devaraj, in his paper entitled โ€œThe Need for a Standard and Fair Contract for Domestic Workersโ€ said that it was not true to say that the Employment Act did not apply to Domestic Workers. He highlighted several Sections that did apply to Domestic Workers and suggested 24 items that should be part of a standard and fair contract for Domestic Workers.

The Roundtable generated much healthy discussion on the changes that were required. At the end of the Roundtable the President of Malaysian Bar issued a press statement entitled โ€œState Intervention Needed for Domestic Workersโ€.

Please read the press statement from : http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/press_statements/press_release_state_intervention_needed_for_domestic_workers.html

Additional Information

Country: Malaysia
Website: http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/bar_news/berita_badan_peguam/roundtable_conference_domestic_workers_the_need_for_a_standard_and_fair_contract.html
Email: N/A
Phone: N/A
Contact Person: N/A
Source: From : Vivian Chong Programme Officer on Foreign Domestic Workers
When: 17/7/2009

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