SS1 of Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps
SS1 of Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

A 27-year-old Cambodian woman who has been a domestic worker in Malaysia since 2008 has accused her employers of beating her and keeping her bankbook and passport – she is allegedly owed thousands of dollars but did not know if the money was paid to her account.

The maid, named Sophal, alleges that she was also stopped from returning home to care for her critically ill father.

After being informed about her father’s chronic condition, the maid asked her employer in January to allow her to resign so she could go home to see her family and take care of her father, Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported on the weekend.

The employer required Sophal to stay until a replacement arrived. But shortly after the family admitted they were not hiring – but would let her go when her work visa expired in September instead.

However, with that deadline approaching at end of this month, there was no sign of her being allowed to leave, according to Sophal, who says she worked from 5am till 11pm every day over the past nine years with no days off and was never allowed to leave the employer’s house on her own.

She says she was beaten by the employer’s mother with clothes hangers, and slapped in the face whenever they were not happy with her performance.

Sophal’s wage started at 550 ringgit a month for the first two years, then rose to 600 ringgit till the start of 2017, when it went up to 700 ringgit. A total sum of 50,000 ringgit (US$11,924) should have been in her bank account, but she had no idea if this sum had been paid as her employer had kept her bankbook and passport.

At 10am last Friday, Sophal eventually took the opportunity to flee from her employer’s home in Kampung Tunku – also known as SS1 in Petaling Jaya. She sought help from a pedestrian, who directed her to Community Policing Malaysia, a non-government group that assists people in need.

By 5pm that day, the organization had helped the maid to file a case accusing her employer of physically abuse and failing to pay her salary for the past nine years.

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