A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Aid for maids at hand [Cambodian ambassador promises to help Cambodian maids in Malaysia]

Top: Princess Norodom Arunrasmy
Bottom: Basic lessons: Maids learning cooking skills at Sri Nadin Sdn Bhd’s training centre in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur.


There are more than 20,000 Cambodian maids in Malaysia now and the number is growing after the Indonesian government banned their domestic workers from working here in 2009.

Cambodian ambassador to Malaysia Princess Norodom Arunrasmy said some maids were not ready to work in certain conditions while the expectation from the employers was too high.

“Most of the maids who come here are from rural areas and do not have enough education.

“Some maid agencies in Cambodia do not provide enough training skills.

“However, we are always ready to help any Cambodian who needs our assistance,” said Arunrasmy.

She said the embassy used to even approach the employers directly upon receiving complaints from Cambodian maids.

The Cambodia embassy’s second secretary, Ung Vantha, said he had to deal with many problems related to Cambodian maids.

“Every day, there is an average of four maids seeking help for various problems.

“Some of them need to renew their passports or extend the visas while some have problems with their employers,” he said.

He added that for problems between employers and maids, he had to interview both sides to seek a mutual agreement.

Vantha said there was a case of a maid who refused to go back to her homeland.

“Her parents talked to the local media and organisation saying that their daughter was being abused and asked to send her back.

“When I asked the maid she told me that nobody abused her and she did not want to go home because her parents were always drunk and the domestic violence affected her,” Vantha added.

A 27-year-old Cambodian maid, recounting her feelings before leaving her hometown, said she did know anyone outside the country and was scared when she heard about many cases of Cambodian maids being overworked, abused and not given enough food.

Aiy Sreyra, who is working as a maid for a Chinese family, was at the Cambodian embassy to extend her visa.

“My employer never abused me and people in the house also provide me with enough food. They are kind and friendly and pay my salary regularly,” said Sreyra.

She added that after working in Malaysia for two years she had earned some money to send to the family in Cambodia.

Now she has decided continue working for another year.

“It was difficult for me at first because of language and I don’t know how to use some modern household equipment.

“My work is to look after my employer’s children, help them to sell fruits, clean the house and do other house work.

“Now, I am getting used to the work and I want to stay here to earn some more money” she added.

Arunasmy said besides earning some money, most of them could speak more than their own language when they went back home.

She said the embassy was also tightening protection mechanisms for its domestic workers by requiring employers to bring the maids along when renewing their passports.

“By doing so the embassy could make sure that the maids were faring well in the country,” she said.

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