Twenty-one Indian workers who arrived in Malaysia for a better future now want to return home, saying they were beaten by their employer and denied salary.
The men, aged between 20 and 40, had borrowed heavily from friends and relatives in India to reach Kuala Lumpur. They all worked at a restaurant in Pandamaran Jaya, Klang.
They claimed they had not been paid by their employer and were even beaten on several occasions, the New Straits Times reported.
On April 23, the men went to the Indian high commission to seek help. Since then the Indian mission has been taking care of the workers.
"The agent had promised that I would get a monthly salary of Malaysian ringgit 800 and work 10-hour shifts. I even sold my wife's jewellery to raise the money to come here," says Rajan Muthu, 33, one of the workers who arrived last year.
He claims that since then he had only been paid a month's salary. "The restaurant owner told me that the remaining amount had been deducted as the cost of bringing me here," alleges Rajan on Wednesday.
Rajan also claims that the owner had once poured boiling water on his right arm after a customer complained about a drink. "He often scolded us with vulgar words," he added.
Another worker, P Murugan, 24, claims that after he came here last year, he was not allowed to return to Tamil Nadu when his father died this April.
An official at the Indian high commission said they have referred the matter to the Malaysian human resources ministry.
The restaurant owner said he would send the 21 men back to India by next week and would also pay for their flight tickets.