I REFER to the report in “Maids may snub Malaysia” (The Star, Dec 24, reproduced below).
People may wring their hands in despair now but bear in mind a litany of abuse cases and the fact that Malaysian workplace laws regarding maids have been dragged into the 21st century with better wages and conditions is too late.
People have justified for too long the treating of maids as second-class humans by claiming all sorts of benefits that they bring to these women.
In the report, it states “If maids chose not to come here, many women would either have to give up their careers or demand for more childcare centres”.
My sister in Australia has for the last 20 years worked in a full-time job, undertaken part-time university studies, raised three children, seen to my ageing father and ran a house.
All this she has done without a maid, housekeeper or cleaner.
She has not given up her career.
What she has gained from this are children who are emotionally intelligent, responsible, able to undertake tasks such as simple cooking, cleaning their bedrooms, washing the car, walking the dog and discovering that being part of family is learning to be responsible.
I know of countless Malaysian families in the same boat as my sister. The world will not end if maids don’t come.
GORDON REID Kuala Lumpur
Maids may snub Malaysia
By PATRICK LEE firstname.lastname@example.org
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia may soon be the last choice of foreign domestic maids.
With other countries paying higher wages and the current low exchange rate of the ringgit, domestic maids may prefer to go elsewhere, warn economists.
RAM Holdings group chief economist Yeah Kim Leng said that although there would be a greater demand for maids, especially with an ageing population, it would be harder to hire them.
“Unless our income is able to keep up with the rising costs, fewer people will be able to afford maids,” he said.
He said that with improving economies in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia may no longer be viewed as a potential job market.
Yeah said more locals might have to work as maids and predicted a greater demand for outsourcing of domestic chores and daycare.
“The Government will have to look into an alternative for working parents,” he said.
Yeah was commenting on an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that both Malaysia and Indonesia had agreed to review the cost structure for recruiting maids.
There has been a trickle of Indonesian maids into the country despite the signing of an MoU between Malaysia and Indonesia on May 30 last year which set a RM4,511 agency fee for the hiring of maids.
The Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) has since claimed that the cost structure was not sustainable as agents were reluctant to bring Indonesian maids into the country, leading to a shortage.
MIDF research chief economist Anthony Dass said locals would have to choose between paying more for their maids or not having any at all.
“If another country offers better (fees) for maids and agencies, why should they come here?” he said.
Dass said increased wages for maids would reduce Malaysians’ disposable incomes, especially if salaries do not go up.
He said if maids chose not to come here, many women would either have to give up their careers or demand for more childcare centres.