Written by Leezzie John, a second-year law student of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.
Edited by Luc Choong.
‘Bibik’, ‘Kakak’, ‘Nenek’ — domestic workers throughout Malaysia go by many names. Akin to millions of domestic workers across the globe, they work laboriously from dusk to dawn to keep many family units afloat. Despite their important roles, domestic workers are often left with the short end of the stick, suffering behind closed doors.
Domestic workers are the unsung heroes of countless families. They work around the clock and contribute to private households by cooking, cleaning, caring for children, tending the elderly and so much more. As it currently stands, it is estimated that at least 52.6 million adults work as domestic workers globally in 2010, along with 7.4 million children below the age of 15. However, due to the often hidden and unregistered nature of this work, the total number of domestic workers could be as high as 100 million. To put things into perspective, if all domestic workers worked for a single country, the country would be the tenth largest employer worldwide.