03/07/2014, 00.00
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Kuala Lumpur, couple sentenced to death for having starved Indonesian domestic worker

The Malaysian couple will be hanged. Because of being denied food the girl weighed only 26 pounds at the time of her death. The government's controls encourage illegal immigration. At least 2 million Indonesians working in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The High Court in Malaysia has sentenced a Malaysian husband and wife to death by hanging, for having starved their Indonesian maid to death.

The judge ruled that Fong Kong Meng (58 years old) and his wife Teoh Ching Yen (56 years), denied food to Isti Komariyah, 28, during her three years of service in their home.

When the girl was dying in 2011, she was taken to the hospital weighing only 26 pounds. When she started working for the Meng family she weighed 46 pounds.

The case is just one of many of abuses against the two million Indonesians working in Malaysia as domestic servants, on plantations, in construction and industry. Often their employers are accused of making them work long hours, abusing them by torture, beatings and sexual violence.

The Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur estimates that there are at least 400 thousand women working as domestics in the country, over half illegally. The Indonesian workers and laborers make up almost half of all foreigners working in Malaysia.

In 2011, the governments of Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta signed an agreement for better treatment of Indonesian migrants. The agreement provides for a guaranteed day off per week and a minimum wage of 700 ringgit (210 U.S. dollars). Several human rights organizations, however, complain that it is difficult to check every situation. Indeed, government controls on migrants have slowed down the hiring of new workers a lot, encouraging illegal immigration.


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