MELBOURNE, Jan 18 (Bernama
) – A Cambodian maid has revealed that she was treated like a slave by her employer in Kuala Lumpur
, according to a report in “The Age” newspaper Wednesday.
Apparently a one-metre snake “ended” Orn Eak’s two-year ordeal when it entered her employer’s apartment, and her services were subsequently terminated. (Serpents, or nagas, play a particularly important role in Cambodian mythology.)
“When the snake crawled into my employer’s apartment she blamed me and kicked me out,” Orn Eak, 28, told the newspaper’s Southeast Asia correspondent Lindsay Murdoch.
“I got the blame for everything, including the death of my employer’s elderly mother.“
Single with a five-year-old son, Orn Eak said she went to Malaysia to work because her mother was struggling to survive in their village in Kompong Thom province.
Orn Eak claimed she had no days off and worked from dawn into the early hours of the next morning, caring for her employer’s disabled mother. She said she was often beaten and went hungry.
The mistreatment worsened after the old woman died in hospital.
Last October, Cambodia imposed a temporary ban on sending domestic workers to Malaysia following numerous complaints of abuse. The order was signed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen following “some negative information” about the working environment of Cambodian maids in Malaysia.
Orn Eak’s mother, Ee Tha, 55, told “The Age” that she received only two payments in almost two years from her daughter’s employer totalling US$270 (about RM840). The employer deducted Orn Eak’s flight ticket home from her salary, which was supposed to be US$180 (about RM560) a month.
When Orn Eak arrived back in Phnom Penh in November, a woman picked her up at the airport and took her to the employment agency.
“I told the story about the snake to a director. Five men came into the room and beat me. They pushed my head onto a glass door and kicked me on the ground,” she said.
Ee Tha, who was asked to come to Phnom Penh to take her daughter home, said: “When I saw that my daughter’s face and body were cut and bruised, my heart dropped.”
After Ee Tha refused to leave the employment agency’s office with her daughter until she was given the money she was owed, a director finally handed over US$1,200 (about RM3,740) – that meant Orn Eak earned only US$1,470 (about RM4,580) for nearly two years’ work.
Social workers have verified her claims of abuse, the newspaper said.