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A court in Malaysia is set to deliver its verdict on a case involving an undocumented Indonesian domestic worker and her unpaid wages.

Nona, an undocumented domestic worker from Indonesia reportedly had her salary withheld by her employer for almost five years, Free Malaysia Today reported. Tenaganita, an NGO that works to protect the rights of migrant workers, helped her file a claim against the employer in 2017 for wages amounting to about 30,000 Ringgit (US$7,344.)

A labor officer who oversaw the case declined to proceed with it because Nona did not possess a valid work permit.

Glorene Das, the executive director of Tenaganita said the labor officials stated all transactions or actions carried out by an undocumented worker are invalid and therefore the complainant’s claims are rendered invalid.

The worker then filed an appeal to the High Court. According to Joseph Paul of the same NGO, the Employment Act in Malaysia provides the right to compensation regardless of the employee’s immigration status. He added The Immigration Act should not have the power to override a worker for any wages for work that has been done.

Paul also argued that the Federal Constitution states that all persons are entitled to basic human rights, which is applied to everyone in the country and should not discriminate against those without legal status.

The High Court in Shah Alam, Selangor is set to rule on the case on April 15 but will first seek clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Human Resources Ministry.

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