WAO refers to Mah Weng Kwai’s letter in The Star, 2 February 2001, “Charges dismissed based on evidence”; a letter Mr. Mah wrote in response to Marina Mahathir’s article “Barbaric Act” in her weekly column “Musings”, The Star, 17 January 2001.
While the specific charge of wrongful confinement was dismissed, WAO notes there are many disturbing aspects of the case that emerged at trial as reported in the press. Even the honest reponse of Ruminah when she agreed with the defence lawyer’s suggestion that she bahaved like a robot and never quesitoned her employer’s orders (The Sun, 27 July 2001) raises some concern and reflects the wholly unequal position between employer and domestic worker in this country. It is therefore incumbent upon every institution that is supposed to protect people like Ruminah that they should be more vigilant and live up to the principle of a caring nation.
On a final note, WAO regrets Mr. Mah’s comment that Marina Mahathir’s article was wholly emotional about women’s affairs. This is a condescending and patronizing argument.
Furthermore, the abuse of foreign domestic workers is not just “women’s affairs” but also a human right violation demanding the attention demanding the attention of every sector in society.