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Maid starved to death in Malaysia, police say

Maid starved to death in Malaysia, police say

Another Cambodian maid died in Malaysia last week, and starvation by her employers is the likely cause, Malaysian police said yesterday.

Speaking to the Post by phone, Penang state police chief deputy commissioner Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said 24-year-old domestic worker Mey Sichan’s employer had called for an ambulance in the early hours of March 31, but she was already dead when it arrived.   

A post-mortem of the body found irregularities with Mey Sichan’s gastric glands, suggesting that starvation was one reason why she passed away, he said.

There had also been injuries on her body, leading police to believe she had been physically abused, added the police chief.

The maid’s employers, a man and a woman, were arrested on Tuesday for investigation, he said, adding that Mey Sichan had been working for them for 10 months.  “We are treating the case as a murder … if they [employers] are found guilty, they will face the mandatory death sentence,” he said.

At least nine Cambodian maids were reported dead in Malaysia in 2011, while a rash of abuses resulted in Prime Minister Hun Sen imposing a ban on sending maids there in October.

Chhay Kosal, a Cambodian Embassy official in Malaysia, said Mey Sichan had been recruited by MLC Labor Supply Company Co Ltd.

Mey Sichan’s body was being kept in a hospital in Penang and a date had not been set for its repatriation, he added.

Ung Samith, an MLC Labor Supply administrator, said the company had received the notification of Mey Sichan’s death from the hospital and police in Malaysia.

It was the first death of a maid recruited by the company, he said, adding that he was preparing a report to send to the Ministry of Labour.

Rights groups continued to urge the Malaysian government to sign an agreement with Cambodia that would ensure maids were protected.

“We encourage the government of Malaysia to sign the MoU with Cambodia in order to protect the rights of migrant workers,” said Chuon Chamrong, the head of Adhoc’s women’s section.

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