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Published: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 7:30:47 AM

Where there's a need, there's a way

Oon with her husband Matthew and son Judah.

Oon with her husband Matthew and son Judah.

PETALING JAYA: Faced with inordinate delays in getting Indonesian domestic workers, many Malaysian households have given up on the idea and moved on to find other ways to care for their children and elderly folks.

IT specialist P. Shamini finally settled for a nursery and daycare centre after struggling to get a maid after her son’s babysitter moved elsewhere.

“I tried getting a live-in maid, but it was very difficult and the agencies quoted prices over RM10,000. I then sent my son to a nursery near my home.

“That nursery, however, was unreliable. My five-year-old son kept falling sick and the place was not managed well,” said the 31-year old, who finally found another nursery school and daycare centre which costs her RM850 each month.

“It is expensive, but that is the price that we have to pay. It is better than having to fork out a huge amount for a maid and is also safer than leaving my child alone with a maid at home,” she said.

Another mother, Mindy Oon, 28, quit her job with an NGO in Ipoh when she had her first child three years ago.

“I did think of getting a maid, but it was just too expensive.

“I have also heard too many horror stories about babysitters who abuse children, so I decided to quit my job and take care of my son. I hired someone to help clean the house twice a week,” said Oon, who decided to set up her own printing and branding business two years later.

“As my in-laws live nearby, I send my son to their house in the morning and then pick him up after work in the evening,” she said.

Teacher Aisyah Azim, 29, was lucky enough to find a babysitter who lived nearby and charged her RM300 each month.

“My husband and I both work long hours. At first, we thought of hiring an Indonesian maid, but when we enquired, we found we could not afford the fee.

“If my husband and I need to work during weekends, I send my daughter to my mother’s home which is also nearby,” said Aisyah.

Hiring a domestic helper, she said, would have cost her over RM4,000 upfront and RM600 monthly.

“My daughter is almost two now. The babysitter will be having her own baby and be away for her confinement period for the next two months.

“I have no choice but to ask for my mother’s help again,” she said.

The Malaysian Asso­ciation of Foreign Maid Agencies is currently negotiating with its Indonesian counterpart to resolve the bottleneck in supply of Indonesian maids to Malaysia.

In September this year, both governments had 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 the maid’s salary over six months.

Tags / Keywords: Family & Community, domestic maids cope without maids

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