Mamak face court again as more underpayment claims emerge

Fresh allegations of further underpayment have come to light as Malaysian restaurant chain Mamak finds itself in hot water once more. Stevi Lee has more.

Photo: Stevi Lee

Malaysian restaurant chain Mamak is in trouble yet again as the Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against its operators following new allegations of underpayment.

Two former employees at the Mamak restaurant in Chatswood, Sydney, have come forward alleging that they were paid as little as $12 and $13 an hour between 2014 and 2016. One employee was an Australian citizen while the other was a Singaporean working in Australia on a student and bridging visas.

Owner-operators Joon Hoe Lee, Julian Lee and Alan Wing-Keung Au, along with their company Mamak Pty Ltd, are to face court over these allegations.

This is not the first time Mamak has faced court. In 2016, Mamak was penalised almost $300,000 after it was discovered the restaurant brand had underpaid six of its employees at the Haymarket-based restaurant — four were former international students. Falsified records to disguise underpayments and informal market research were also uncovered during the Fair Work Ombudsman’s investigation.

In handing down the penalties, Judge Justin Smith said that “all of the respondents knew that there was an Award but deliberately chose to ignore it in order to maximise profit”.

International students unsure about what their work rights are can refer to Meld Magazine’s guide on work rights and take part in our quiz

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