Malaysia bans non-Muslims from working in Islamic households
by Joseph Masilamany

The government rules against “infidels" working in private homes. Associations, employers and workers protest. Domestic workers are the main target. One job placement agency wonders why Saudi Arabia and Qatar allow Muslims to hire non-Muslims whilst Malaysia does not.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – Malaysia’s Immigration Department has banned non-Muslim domestics from working in Muslim households.

The decision sparked protests by employment agencies and employers, who wonder what logic is behind the decision.

Comments on social media all tend to share the same view, namely that religion should not be an obstacle to work and coexistence.

"Religion should not be an obstacle,” said Engku Ahmad Fauzi, head of the Malaysian Maid Employers Association. “When you work in an office, you don't base it on religion and likewise, this should not be the case for the maid in the home," he noted.

One job placement agency owner who wished to remain anonymous wonders why other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar allow Muslims to hire non-Muslims as maids and in Malaysia it is disallowed.

Business owner Zubir Rahman who has three children voiced concerns over the new policy. Zubir who has a maid from the Philippines, is seeking another Filipino when the contract for his current maid expires in December. He said he preferred Filipino maids as they were more reliable.

For Harussani Zakaria, the mufti of the state of Perak, the problem is the skills of Christian domestic workers.

“In terms of the law, it is not haram (forbidden) and it is not makruh (frowned upon) for Muslims to hire non-Muslim maids,” he admitted. However, he said he was worried that children cared for by non-Muslims would adopt practices from other religions.