PUTRAJAYA | The human resources ministry pays close attention to reports of mistreatment of foreign domestic workers, including employers not paying their wages, says human resources minister V Sivakumar.

He said he had instructed the manpower department (JTK) to take strict action against any employer who mistreated their workers in line with the ministry’s aspiration to ensure Malaysia was free from forced labour practices.

“It is true that from time to time, there are cases related to domestic workers, and action has been taken.

“JTK has gone to observe and save them (workers) and appropriate action has been taken in previous cases,” he told the press at the ministry’s 2023 Deepavali celebration here today.

Sivakumar was asked to comment on the statement of Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Hermono yesterday that 90% of the complaints received by the Indonesian embassy were related to domestic workers.

Hermono said this was a worrying trend and included complaints about employers not paying workers their wages.

Sivakumar said his ministry was ready to take action against any employers who abused their powers and discriminated against any employee, especially in terms of forced labour.

Sivakumar also asked the Indonesian embassy to immediately lodge reports on the mistreatment of Indonesian domestic workers in the country so that JTK could take appropriate action against employers who were negligent in the management of domestic workers.

“I will not tolerate this and will make sure JTK drags them (employers) to court,” he said.

In another development, Sivakumar said the progressive wage policy would be complementary to the minimum wage policy so that skilled and highly productive workers could earn a better income compared to the current minimum wage of RM1,500.

He said although the minimum wage policy was important for the country in ensuring that every worker, whether local or foreign, received a minimum wage, other employee productivity-based models should also be looked into.

He said the progressive wage policy had been discussed in detail and had been approved by the National Economic Action Council (MTEN).

On Nov 8, economy minister Rafizi Ramli said the white paper on the proposed progressive wage policy would be tabled in Parliament on Nov 30 to explain its basic characteristics and implementation mechanism.