Malaysian restaurateurs in Australia fined for exploiting workers

The couple receiving a hefty fine of over A$200,000 (RM682,000) for underpaying five foreign workers at three of their restaurants. 

A Malaysian couple and their companies were fined over A$200,000 (RM682,000) for exploiting Malaysian and Taiwanese workers at three Japanese restaurants they operated in Brisbane, Australia.

Lee Wee Song and Siew Lay Yeoh were found guilty of underpaying the five foreign workers, and fined A$40,500 (RM138,000) and A$32,400 (RM110,000) respectively.

Their companies Tsuyoetsu Pty Ltd and Taikuken Pty Ltd, which owned the Teppanyaki Lovers, Nigi Nigi and Ku-O restaurants, were each fined A$99,000 (RM337,000) and A$29,200 (RM99,500).

The five workers were paid as little as A$10 (RM34) per hour, well below Australia’s minimum wage of A$17.70 (RM60) per hour, between November 2011 and October 2014.

The accused argued in court that they had little business experience in Australia, and were naïve about protocols in the country.