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Published: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 12:16:22 PM

The maids may be here soon

PETALING JAYA: A solution may finally be in sight for the two-year impasse on Indonesian maids coming to Malaysia.

Asosiasi Perusahaan Jasa Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (Apjati), whose members supply maids to Malaysian recruitment agencies, has given its undertaking to not only provide a steady supply of Indonesian maids to Malaysia but also at the RM7,800 agency fee agreed upon by the governments of both countries in September this year.

Ayub Basalamah, the president of Apjati told The Star they would abide by the conditions in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreed by the governments of both countries in 2011 and the RM7,800 fee.

Apjati is currently negotiating with the Malaysian Asso­ciation of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) to resolve the supply of Indonesian maids to Malaysia. Among the stipulations in the MoU on the recruitment of maids include 200 hours of training and one off day every week for domestic helpers.

In September this year, both governments also agreed to set the agency fee at RM7,800, of which RM6,000 is to be borne by the employer while the balance of RM1,800 is to be deducted from a maid’s salary over six months.

Ayub said the main difficulty in attracting Indonesian maids to work in Malaysia was the higher salaries offered by countries in the Middle East, Singapore and Taiwan.

“Errant agencies also charge excessive fees, spoiling the market. They deal directly with their counterparts in Malaysia without going through the authorised associations,” he said, adding that maids from these agencies did not meet the standards set by Apjati.

Ayub called on Malaysian enforcement authorities not to approve maid visa applications from agencies that were not members of Apjati.

“Unscrupulous recruitment agencies out to make a quick profit exploit Malaysians by charging as high as RM14,000 for an Indonesian maid,” he said.

Papa could not be contacted, but a Human Resources Ministry source said that both the association and Apjati had been informed that their upcoming MoU must stick to the existing terms that both countries have agreed on.

“Both Papa and Apjati have informed the Ministry that they were willing to comply with the conditions,” the source said.

Papa president Jeffrey Foo was quoted recently as saying he expected the new MoU to be inked before Chinese New Year next month and that the maids would start coming here two months after the signing.

The source said the Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) could also be included in the upcoming MoU.

Pikap president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan said agency fees should be raised because the current cost structure was too low to attract Indonesian maids to Malaysia.

He said that of the RM7,800 agency fee, RM3,000 went to the Malaysian agency while the remaining RM4,800 was used to identify available maids by “buying” the biodata of job applicants from Indonesian maid agencies.

“The reason why the maids are not coming is because the Indonesian agencies are only willing to supply the maids at RM6,500, which is what agencies from other countries are paying,” he added.

He denied that Malaysian agencies made hefty profits.

“The gross profit for each maid is only RM635. In many cases, it is even lower because agencies must spend more in travelling and other costs to resolve problems faced by the maids once they are employed here.

“If Apjati can convince us and guarantee that its members will sell us the maids’ biodata at the set price of RM4,800, then we will agree to the current fee of RM7,800,” he said.

Related stories:
Mama: We will believe it when we see it
No changes to existing terms for new MoU

Tags / Keywords: Government, Indonesian maid, Apjati


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