Thursday, November 5, 2009

No problem, says Immigration Department

Department ready to handle house checks on maids

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 07:02:00
THE Immigration Department sees no problem in the Labour Department’s ambitious plan to conduct house-to-house checks on 250,000 households employing foreign domestic help.

Its director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman was unfazed when contacted by Malay Mail, stating that
house checks were not something new to the department.

“We have always been doing this, not just for maids but for expatriates to check on their employment pass, visas and such that we feel are dubious,” Abdul Rahman said.

“So we have already been doing this independently but this time another department is asking for help.”

Yesterday Malay Mail reported that the Labour Department had sought the help of the Immigration Department to conduct the house checks during which government officers would interview both maids and employers in a bid to ensure that the welfare of domestic maids was taken care of.

Abdul Rahman said the collaboration between the two departments was better as it would mean more officers involved and the operations would be more transparent and thorough.

“Before this, there would always be people who complain why their home was selected and not some others.

So it is better this way.” Asked if his department had the necessary manpower, Abdul Rahman said “yes”,
and that officers from every State would be involved.

The Immigration Department has more than 11,000 officers of every rank, nationwide. Abdul Rahman, however, said they had yet to discuss how many officers would be involved in the operations.

On concerns raised by NGOs that the operations would not succeed as maids would be too afraid to tell the
officers if they were being mistreated, and employers too would say everything was fine, Abdul Rahman said Malaysians must play their part.

“Citizens, other than employers, must also play a role. They should report to us if they notice anything wrong.

For example, some neighbours have reported cases to us.”

As to whether officers would also speak to neighbours, Abdul Rahman said they would not, except when doubts arise or if specific tipoffs were received. - Malay Mail

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