School grades don’t matter much?

Accounting firms PwC and EY start a trend in recruitment to help business and society

Big Four

WE all know that good grades in school won’t necessarily land you that first job. They do however go a long way towards convincing a potential employer that you’re likely to perform well if hired. That’s why you’re routinely asked to produce certificates and transcripts during the application process. How else can the employer get a quick reading on the discipline, intelligence, diligence and knowledge of a school-leaver or a fresh graduate?

But what if an employer decides that your grades shouldn’t matter as much? How will that change things?

For the answer to that, we ought to be watching the Big Four accounting firms in Britain.

Starting in June last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stopped using the UCAS tariff as an entry criterion for most of its undergraduate and graduate recruitment schemes. Developed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the tariff is the British system for allocating points to those seeking undergraduate placements.

The system applies to a long list of entry qualifications — for example, A levels, City & Guilds diplomas, and music examinations — and the points for each qualification are worked out based on the levels of achievement.

Before this, a person usually must have a minimum number of UCAS points before PwC would consider his job application, even if he’s a graduate. This is apparently a common practice in Britain. With the policy change, the accounting firm can now overlook mediocre A-level results if the candidate has gone on to soar in his degree programme.

PwC says the reduced emphasis on UCAS points is because it’s important to be a progressive and socially inclusive employer, and because it wants to reach the broadest range of talented students.

“There’s strong correlation that exists in Britain between social class and school academic performance. This data suggests that by placing too much emphasis on UCAS scores, employers could miss out on key talent from disadvantaged backgrounds, because they may perform less well at school. That’s why, from an academic perspective, we’re focusing on your degree,” it explains on its website.

And then in August, Ernst & Young (EY) announced that it would remove academic qualifications from the entry criteria for its 2016 graduate, undergraduate and school-leaver programmes. Instead of insisting on certain standards for UCAS points and degree classification, the firm relies on “a new and enhanced suite of online “strengths” assessments and numerical tests to assess the potential of applicants”.

In other words, EY recruits by evaluating the candidates’ strengths and promise, not just their past performance.

This decision came after talent management firm Capp had studied EY’s student selection process over 18 months. The analysis found that EY’s strengths-based approach in recruitment, introduced in 2008, is a robust and reliable indicator of a candidate’s potential to succeed in his role in EY.

“At EY, we are modernising the workplace, challenging traditional thinking and ways of doing things. Transforming our recruitment process will open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background and provide greater access to the profession,” says Maggie Stilwell, the managing partner for talent.

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door.”

“Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment. It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.”

It’s interesting that Stillwell describes an overriding dependence on academic qualifications as a blunt approach. Stephen Isherwood, the chief executive of Britain’s Association of Graduate Recruiters, has a similar view. The PwC press release on the firm’s move to drop the UCAS points entry criteria, quotes Isherwood: “Using a candidate’s UCAS points to assess his potential is a blunt tool and a barrier to social mobility. This is an innovative step by one of the most significant graduate recruiters in Britain. Other graduate employers should follow its lead.”

PwC definitely sees itself as a trendsetter, saying its new recruitment assessment process could drive radical change across its industry. However, these radical changes haven’t happened yet. So far, Deloitte and KPMG, the other two firms in the Big Four, are still sticking to their minimum academic requirements in Britain.

It’s too soon to conclude that the recruitment changes by PwC and EY are a failed experiment.

The war for talent is intense among accounting firms. Businesses can’t stay at the top without thinking out of the box, taking bold steps, and being caring. It should be no different when it comes to how they hire people.

By Errol Oh Optimistically cautious viewpoint

Executive editor Errol Oh joined an accounting firm right out of school. That doesn’t happen in Malaysia anymore.


Big Four Corporation
The Big Four are the four largest international professional services networks, offering audit, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services. Wikipedia

Lawyers who refused to return client RM4.9mil house sale struck off rolls

Singapore Supreme CourtSingapore’s Supreme Court.

Latest case is second instance of lawyers being disbarred in two weeksSINGAPORE — Two senior lawyers were today (April 13) struck off the roll for taking advantage of a client who had transferred S$1.8 million to their wives for safekeeping.

Mr Manjit Singh Kirpal Singh and Mr Sree Govind Menon had claimed that the money paid by Ms Bernadette Rankine was a gift, and had refused to return the money when asked.

After Ms Rankine lodged a complaint with the Law Society, the duo fought proceedings against them, alleging bias by the disciplinary panel president and filing judicial reviews to challenge decisions of the Chief Justice.

Today, the Court of Three Judges – comprising Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Justices Judith Prakash and Tay Yong Kwang – ruled that the lawyers had been dishonest and ordered their disbarment. “In cases of proven dishonesty, a solicitor will invariably be struck off the roll, regardless of the solicitor’s mitigating circumstances,” the judges wrote.

Mr Singh was admitted to the Bar in 1977 and Mr Menon was admitted in 1998. Ms Rankine had approached Mr Singh for legal advice in 2009, when she wanted to sell her property in Joan Road to live off sale proceeds after breaking up with a Malaysian businessman. She feared her ex-beau would try to prevent the sale of the property, which he did by lodging a caveat against it.

In 2010, the lawyers helped in getting the caveat discharged and Ms Rankine netted S$6.9 million from the sale of the property. She received a S$5 million cheque from the lawyers’ firm and used another S$50,000 to pay her personal assistant. Mr Singh handed her a cheque worth S$1.8 million and the lawyers advised her to issue cheques of the same amount to their wives for safekeeping and future legal fees, which she did.

In Dec 2010, Ms Rankine complained to the Law Society after they refused to return the money. She withdrew the complaint in Nov 2012 after getting her money back, but the Law Society pursued its charges against the duo.

The Society found Ms Rankine’s characterisation of the S$1.8 million payment to be convincing and believable, and said the two lawyers had acted dishonourably and showed no remorse for reprehensible conduct.

The duo had embarked on an elaborate scheme to cheat Ms Rankine, while ensuring the payment could not be traced back to their firm’s account, argued the Law Society, represented by Mr P E Ashokan. Instead of directly transferring the S$1.8 million from the law firm’s account to that of his wife and Mr Menon’s wife, Mr Singh had used Ms Rankine as a conduit so that things would appear above-board, noted the Court of Three Judges.

The judges noted that Ms Rankine had already paid substantial legal fees to the duo and “a gift of this magnitude to a solicitor with whom the client had no previous dealings … simply defies belief”.

Mr Singh also faced a second charge for misusing a S$20,000 cashier’s order from Ms Rankine to pay for an unrelated matter, which the judges said “underlines his lack of…integrity and trustworthiness”.

This is the second time in two weeks that lawyers have been disbarred — veteran lawyer Pascal Netto was struck off the roll last week for professional misconduct that included unauthorised borrowing from a client’s firm.

By Neo Chai Chin

Woman takes due to court over refusal to return RM4.9mil from house sale

Certified dishonest

TWO lawyers who refused to return S$1.8mil (RM4.9mil) to a client were struck off the rolls on April 13.

The client had transferred the money to their wives for what she thought was safekeeping.

Manjit Singh, a lawyer of 37 years, and Sree Govind Menon, a lawyer of 16, were partners in the firm, Manjit Govind & Partners.

In disbarring them, the Court of Three Judges, with power to censure, suspend or strike lawyers off the rolls for professional misconduct, noted that the pair had acted dishonestly.


In 2009, Singh was hired by Bernadette Rankine, then an art gallery owner, to handle the sale of her house in Joan Road, off Thomson Road, which was sold for S$12mil (RM32.5mil).

She had decided to sell the property and live off the proceeds after ending her 13-year relationship with Malaysian businessman Amin Shah.

But her former boyfriend lodged a caveat against the property to block the sale. In February 2010, the caveat was lifted and the net sales proceeds of S$6.9mil (RM18.7mil) held by the law firm were ordered to be released to her.

Singh gave her a cheque for S$5mil (RM13.6mil) as well as S$50,000 (RM135,000) for her assistant’s wages.

A few days later, he gave her a cheque for S$1.8mil, while she in turn issued two cheques, one for S$1.6mil (RM4.3mil) to Singh’s wife and the other for S$200,000 (RM544,000) to Menon’s wife.

Singh had advised her to place the money with their wives for safekeeping, saying that if her former boyfriend launched more legal action against her, her money would be frozen and she would not have the means to pay for lawyers.

Nine months later, she asked them to return the money. When they refused, she complained to the Law Society. They have since returned the full sum.

In April last year, a disciplinary tribunal found the pair guilty of misconduct – Singh for advising her to pay the money to the wives and then refusing to return it, and Menon for agreeing with the advice.

The pair contended that the money was a gift from Rankine but the tribunal found this “inherently absurd”.

Yesterday, the court agreed, saying it was unlikely that Rankine, who needed money for pending legal matters, would give away one quarter of her key asset to the wives of the two lawyers she had known for less than six months and to whom she had already paid fees. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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Money, money, money … Love of money is the root of all evil !

Lets not use Money as an all-powerful weapon to buy people

ONE can safely assume that the subject of money would be of interest to almost all and sundry. ABBA, the Swedish group, sang about it. Hong Kong’s canto pop king, Samuel Hui made a killing singing about it. Donna Summers, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Rick James and quite a few more, all did their versions of it.

Is money all that matters? The ‘be all and end all’ of life?

This will certainly be a fiercely-debated subject by people from both sides of the divide; the haves and have nots.

Just last week, my 12-year-old asked if the proverb Money is the root of all evil is true. Naturally, like most kids of his generation, he would not have a clue as to how difficult it is for money to come about. Or why, when it does come about, it has the power to make and break a person. To a Gen-Z kid, the concept of having to ‘earn’ money is somewhat alien. Simply because everything he ever needs and beyond is ‘magically’ provided for.

Forget about teaching this generation to earn their keeps, just expecting them to pick up after themselves is a herculean ask. But we are not here to talk about that, instead, is money really the root of all evil? Perhaps, the proper answer would be ‘the love of money is’.

Let’s see what sort of evil comes with this love of money. Top of mind would be corruption, covetousness, cheating, even murder, just to name a few. These, of course, are of the extreme.

What about at the workplace? How does the love of money or rather the lure of money affect the employment market? Let me take on a profession closer to my heart, the advertising industry. Annually, our varsities and colleges churn out thousands of mass communication and advertising grads. Of these, only a handful would venture into the industry. Where have all the others gone?

A quick check with fellow agency heads reveals that many have opted to go into the financial sectors as the starting packages are somehow always miraculously higher than those offered by advertising agencies. A classic case of money at work. For those who have actually joined the ad industry, some get pinched after a while because of a better offer of … money, and more. (As if this is not bad enough, the “pinchers” are often not only from within the industry but are clients!)

The fact is there is absolutely nothing wrong in working towards being the top of one’s profession and getting appropriately remunerated for it. The problem starts when money is used as the all-powerful weapon to ‘buy’ people. Premium ringgit is often paid to acquire many of these hires, some of whom, unfortunately, are still a little wet behind the ears. Paying big bucks for talent is all right, as long as the money commensurate with the ability and experience of the person.

Case in point is if an individual is qualified only as a junior executive with his current employer, should he then be offered the job as a manager and paid twice the last drawn salary? All because some of us are just so short on resources.

Now, hypothetically, if this person was offered the managerial post anyway, would he be able to manage the portfolio and deliver what is expected of him? Would he, for instance, ask what he needs to bring to the table? After all, he has suddenly become the client service director and draws a salary of RM20k a month. Does he actually need to bring more new businesses, or what? We can call ourselves all sorts of fancy titles but the point is we have got to earn it. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Having served on the advertising association council for the past nine years and presiding over it the last two, it concerns me greatly to see the how money is affecting and somewhat thinning the line of qualified successors to the present heads.

The lack of new talents coming into the ad business is increasingly worrisome. Though it may look a seemingly distant issue to most clients, they must now take heed. The agencies are business partners and if there is going to be a dearth of talents it will surely affect the clients’ business in the near future. So rather than pinching the rare good ones from the agencies, would it then not be in the clients’ best interest to instead remunerate the agencies so to secure better and higher standards of expertise? Food for thought, eh?

Pardon me for being old school. I am a firm advocate of the saying that one should not chase money. First learn to be at the top of your trade and money will chase you. Then again, we are now dealing with and learning how to manage the present generation. A generation of young, smart, fearless, and somewhat impatient lot who may not be as loyal as their predecessors. A generation that loves life and crave excitement. Adventure is in their blood and ‘conforming’ is a bad word. And money, lots of it, makes the world go faster for them.

As elders, we need to look hard and deep into how to inculcate the right value of money in this new generation. These are our children. They are the future. If we make no attempt to set this right and instead keep on condoning the practice of over-remunerating them, we will be in trouble. The fact that Malaysia will soon have to compete in the free-trade region further allows money to flex its muscles more. I shudder to think what would happen to our young ones if we keep on mollycoddling them with the wrong idea that they ought to be highly paid just for breathing.

Folks, my sincere apologies if I have inadvertently touched some tender nerves but a wake-up call this has to be. For our dear clients, think about the proposition to review your agency’s remunerations – upwards I mean. This, over taking people from the industry, will save you more in the long run.

For those of us in the agencies, let us keep polishing up our skills and not let money be the sole motivator. If you are good, others will take notice. Work hard, the rewards will come. Just exercise some patience.

I leave you with a saying that one Mr Jaspal Singh said to me when I was a rookie advertising sales rep with The Star eons ago: “Man make money, money does NOT make a man”. (Or woman, of course.)

Till the next time, a very Happy Deepavali to all.

God bless!

By Datuk Johnny Mun, who has been an advertising practitioner for over 30 years, is president of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents. He is also CEO of Krakatua ICOM, a local ad agency.

Big bosses are watching you !

Big Bosses watching youTracking device: Asia Insight employee Steven Li conducting a survey near Bugis Junction. He is using a tablet which has mobile data collection software, allowing his employers to track his work patterns. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network

BIG bosses are watching. Firms are keeping a closer eye on their employees’ punctuality and efficiency – thanks, or no thanks, to technology.

Larger companies are investing in advanced software in mobile devices that can detect location – and record the time taken to complete tasks.

And smaller firms have found that run-of-the-mill but inexpensive instant messaging apps can also be used to monitor workers. Employees of local property valuation firm GSK Global, for example, when out at meetings are told to send a picture of the venue to their departments’ WhatsApp group chat within 15 minutes of the designated time. Those who are consistently late will get their bonuses docked.

Bosses say they are not spying on their staff. Rather, they want to improve efficiency.

GSK Global boss Eric Tan said: “I want my staff to be punctual so they can be done with work earlier and go home by 8pm.”

Market research consultancy Asia Insight chief executive Pearly Tan agrees.

Her firm engaged local tech start-up Epsilon Mobile earlier this year to develop mobile data collection software that records the time employees take to interview people and co­m­plete surveys, among other things.

It costs “a few hundred thousand” but Tan said it was worth it. The software helps the company spot patterns in the way the surveyors work, and also intervenes to reduce errors and boost productivity.

Her firm plans to use the software, which is enabled with Global Positioning System (GPS), to detect its employees’ location.

Epsilon Mobile boss William Vo said besides market researchers, organisations such as voluntary welfare groups and chain restaurants had also shown interest in his data collection software.

Similarly, tech company FPT Asia Pacific provides a few fast-moving consumer goods firms with GPS-enabled data collection software to monitor roving sales staff.

While most surveillance techno­logy now focuses on tracking location and time, firms may soon be able to use it to monitor their wor­kers’ interactions with customers.

Local tech company FXMedia is in talks with some retailer groups to roll out a visitor analysis system in stores. The software detects the number of customers and consu­mers’ emotions using webcams.

However, bosses admit there are some drawbacks to using workplace surveillance technology; workers face extra stress and loss of privacy. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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It is a small world

Small worldThe world is actually quite small

EVERY week, I go to the nearby wet market to stock up on provisions. One of the stalls I have to stop by is run by a young man who knows that I am there to collect my weekly quota of 20 kampung eggs.

Recently I asked him if he might want to consider starting up an online service to provide home delivery to his regular customers. After all, even the major hypermarkets are going big time in providing such a service to tap into the trend of people being so busy that grocery shopping needs another approach.

His reply tells me once again that true wisdom rests among ordinary people who truly know what the real world is all about. You can grab quotations from wise men and manage­ment gurus but sometimes the real gems are from people like my egg seller.

He basically told me that it is better for me to come out and get the chance to meet people rather than stay in the house. Every moment in any public area, he said, is fresh and unpredictable.

“You can bump into people you have not met for a long time or come across something interesting that cheers you up when you are feeling down,” he said.

The egg seller is correct to say that every moment in public is fresh and unpredictable. I have always believed that nothing happens by chance. Some call it divine appointments but it is this connection of one human to another that opens up a myriad of possibilities.

Through such encounters, we learn that the world is actually quite small once we start connecting the dots and learn that the person we have just met is actually not quite a stranger after all.

As much as I love the written word, I find that it is the spoken word, with all the body language appended, that conveys the true meaning of what we want to say.

To tell someone you are sorry through a card is easy even if you do not really mean it. But to say you are sorry up close and personal, you’d better mean what you say or else.

Those who are less socially inclined than I am will disagree when I say that we are not created to be solitary beings. We need company to flourish in thought and in deed.

We can talk about feeling the pulse of the people and of being connected to the grassroots, but if we are only doing so from the comfort of our living room or office, we will never get the real picture.

Some of the things I read online will make me think there is absolutely no hope left in the country, but when I am out there, I realise that this is just not the case.

Take a ride on the bus or the LRT, drop in to see a friend at the hospital, take a walk around the neighbourhood, have a chat with the grasscutter …

Then you will learn that the world we live in is a wonderful place because the people make it so.

And we do so by not merely looking out for our own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

In this season of Christmas, it is my hope that we do our part to reach out and love one another. We can, and we will, make a difference.

Contributed by Soo Ewe Jin. He wishes all Christian readers a blessed Christmas with a gentle reminder that this is the season not only for giving but for forgiving as well.

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Tips on courting investors

IN this penultimate column, I would like to explore the world of romance, courtship and partnership. Why some marriages are happy and long lasting and why some end in a messy divorce. I will also talk about quickie engagements, marriage of convenience and spouse for hire.

Courting-investorNo, I am not Aunty Thelma providing counsel on your turbulent personal life. Neither am I qualified to talk about politicians and rent seekers. This discussion is confined to entrepreneurs who need partners to help them kick start their business. Occasionally, desperately sourcing capital for survival and sometimes needing a healthy dose of cash injection to grow.

For new startups, courting the investors will be the most stressful stage. Before they part with their money, they will question the viability of your business, sustainability of your business model and most importantly, the potential to scale. You are advised to be well prepared with facts and figures supporting your proposal. If a knowledgeable investor tears up your assumptions and forecast, swallow your pride and rebuild your model if necessary. You will be better prepared to face the next potential investor.

Knowing the type of investors that you would like to “sleep with” will save you unnecessary stress and avoiding misaligned discussions. Short-term investors think very differently from long-term investors. Temporary relationships means moving in together and having fun without any responsibility. Breaking up is not hard to do.

Long-term relationships requires patience, understanding and tolerance between both parties. Like all marriages, there will be fights and misunderstandings but both sides will make up and continue for the sake of the children, albeit on an uneasy truce.

If you have a quick turnaround project with an early exit plan, then you will click immediately with short-term investors who will be willing to take on higher risks but expecting immediate returns on invested capital. Normally they do not mind having a smaller equity share as long as they see good upside but you will have to pay interest or dividends on their different class of preferred shares. It is best you find out more on terms like convertible cumulative preferred stocks and RCCPS (redeemable convertible cumulative preference shares) etc … If you want to be on the same page as these savvy investors.

If your project has a long gestation period, get a rich investor who looks for steady recurring income with an eye for capital asset growth. Be conservative with your forecast and highlight your cashflow management skills. Nothing pleases the long-term investor more than having a mature thinking partner who will conservatively build a meaningful asset business in a steady environment.

Once you have the investor interested, the real negotiation starts. Assuming all investors are fools, you will be able to load the investors with a high valuation, retain majority equity and management control and yet raise a lot of capital by giving little away. Alternatively, assuming you are the desperate fool, you would end up working for the new investors, saddled with a low valuation and stuck with minority equity stakes. Nobody likes playing the fool so either one of these relationships will definitely end up in divorce.

Basically, the whole negotiation rests on the basis of valuation. For a new startup with no prior track record, the valuation is based on forecast budgets normally over a five-year period. To investors, getting the forecast right determines the level of risks to be taken. But his guess is as good as your guess. Then you end up with two sides articulating their understanding on market trends, benchmarking best practices etc, just to justify their number guessing skills.

So the final numbers to be agreed upon will depend heavily on your negotiation skills or how much the Investors believe in you. If you are desperate, the Investor will see through that and you will not be negotiating from strength. A right minded investor would prefer to have a highly motivated entrepreneur at the controls of a start up so you will not be forcefully bullied. Just remember to tell him that you need to feel motivated when you wake up every morning and he will back off and see that you are fairly treated.

If the Investor pushes you into a corner, just walk away. You have not lost anything. That said, I assumed you have been realistic with your forecast numbers and have comfortably addressed the investors concerns. If not, do not be surprised if the investor walks away instead.

Understanding how investors think will help you prepare your proposal. Greedy investors look for maximum short-term returns and these are normally fund managers who wants to believe in well structured glossy presentations so that they can justify to their investors why they should invest their money into your project. It will be unfair for me to say that these professional fund managers are willing to invest in high risk projects since it is not their personal money but the pressure to perform forces them to take higher risks that carries higher returns.

Individual investors are way too careful and they prefer proposals with reduced risks and long-term asset building models. This has been my preferred business model as an entrepreneur then and even now as an investor. But the lure of fast short-term gains enjoyed by so many has whetted my appetite and I am now reconsidering my investment strategies. Greed is indeed sinful and irresistible.

Since I made a promise not to write about politicians and GLCs (government-linked corporations), I will not be elaborating on the topics of quickie engagements and marriage of convenience. I apologise if you have found this column dry and boring but I hope my advice on having safe sex in a monogamous marriage will help you live longer with a healthy bank balance by your side. Stay happy always.


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To Malaysians, time to learn to live without maids!


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


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.

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