Don't treat maids like property

Following the murder of a couple, in which the main suspect is a domestic worker who has since fled Singapore, Miss Low Sock Heng proposed that domestic workers be made to seek the consent of their employers to leave Singapore (Make maids get consent before leaving S'pore; June 24).

She is also of the view that domestic maids should not have possession of their passports and work permits.

It is not fair to penalise the more than 230,000 domestic workers in Singapore because of the actions of a tiny minority.

Serious crimes are more likely to be committed by Singaporeans and permanent residents, but who would seriously suggest that these two groups of people surrender their passports to a higher authority and be required to seek permission to leave, unless charged with an offence?

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Domestic workers are not property and should not be treated as such.

It is absolutely wrong to seek to chain any worker to an employer by giving an employer control over the worker's personal documents.

Domestic workers, like any other workers, should be retained by decent treatment and proper payment.

John Gee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'Don't treat maids like property'. Print Edition | Subscribe