Domestic Worker Escapes From 'Tan Sri' Employer After Not Getting Paid For 12 Years

The 43-year-old domestic worker had been treated harshly for over a decade with constant berating and 18-hour chores.

Cover image via S Vinothaa/Malaysiakini & Amnesty International UK

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An Indonesian domestic worker has escaped from her employer, who is said to be a 'Tan Sri', after allegedly not getting paid for the past 12 years

According to an exclusive report by Malaysiakini's S Vinothaa, the 43-year-old escaped her employer's home in Kota Damansara, Kuala Lumpur following the advice of another domestic worker who was hired to replace her.

The domestic worker, who hails from the city of Malang in East Java, was the third and the longest-serving employee to have escaped from the house resided by the 'Tan Sri' and his family.

The 'Tan Sri' is believed to be in his 70s and is wealthy.

In her more than a decade long service at the house, she had to wake up 5am in the morning before the 'madam' was awake.

The 'madam' is said to be an early riser and she would berate the domestic worker if work was not done.

"I only sleep after she has gone to bed, usually around midnight," said the petite-sized domestic worker.

She said she worked 18 hours a day, and on Ramadan, she had to wake up at 4am.

Throughout the years, she was subjected to constant berating and suffered from perpetual physical fatigue.

On one occasion, she was even slapped for misplacing a medicinal tablet.

For the first seven years of employment, she had to manage house chores of six adults and two infants.

She was left to clean the five-bedroom house daily. She had asked her employer to send her home along with her wages.

"They told me to wait for a replacement, but when another worker was employed in 2016, I never got a response every time I asked for my salary or to return home," Malaysiakini quoted her as saying.

"By 2019, my replacement had fled the household and another replacement was employed the same year."

"I never dared run away because I was afraid of being caught by the authorities or falling prey to unsavoury characters, but when my second replacement suggested we leave, I didn't hesitate because she had a plan."

She said she escaped through the back door with her belongings packed in two garbage bags while her employer was taking an afternoon nap. 

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via CNA

She is now under the shelter of the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, which has also helped her to engage a lawyer to demand that the employer pay the alleged unpaid wages

The amount is said to total RM106,000, reported Malaysiakini.

Instead of complying with the letter of demand, the employer's son filed a claim with the Department of Labour for payment in lieu of a 14-day termination notice.

Payment in lieu of notice is a penalty or compensation that an employee or employer has to pay to the other party when the notice period is not served.

According to a spokesman at the embassy, the employer's son is probably seeking about RM500 for the two-week notice period that the domestic worker did not fulfil.

However, with all that is happening, the domestic worker said she is now relieved as she is protected by the embassy and managed to call her parents, who had asked her to return home immediately.

She refused to return just yet as she does not want to go home without her hard-earned money.

The embassy, as well as migrant rights organisations Tenaganita and Migrant Care, said it is not uncommon to see employers not paying their domestic workers, reported Malaysiakini.

Meanwhile, learn about your rights as an employee here: