Grey area


Orange Employment Agency owner Shirley Ng said it is not within a maid's job scope to clean outside the employer's property but admitted that it could be a grey area.

"For instance, leaves from a tree in the employer's property could drop and clog a drain outside the house."

Nation Employment owner Gary Chin felt that the employer's request is against the work permit regulations.

"The helper's working area should be within the house and all work shouldn't jeopardise her safety or tire her out," he said.Mr Jolovan Wham, executive director of migrant workers group Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics, thinks that most maids do not dare to voice their unhappiness.

"If they report their employers, they might lose their jobs and get sent back," he said.

"They are also not sure if they would be allowed to switch employers after their case is investigated."

Mr Wham would usually advise helpers to reject dangerous requests rather than put their lives at risk.


An MOM spokesman said it is investigating the reported case.

She said: "Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) are allowed to work only for their employers at the addresses stated on their Work Permits. The employer also has to ensure that the FDW performs only household and domestic duties.

"Employers who deploy their FDWs illegally may face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Such employers may also be banned from employing FDWs."


Many netizens, including domestic helpers, expressed outrage at seeing the picture of the maid in a canal.

Netizen Belinda Tan wrote: "This is ridiculous. Not to mention dangerous and probably illegal.

"Call National Environment Agency or Public Utilities Board, not your maid!"

- LInette Heng