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Tuesday July 1, 2008

Hiring maids by the hour

MORE people in Penang are opting to hire maids by the hour since the fees for full-time ones skyrocketed.

Housewife Quah Lean Hong, 49, said she used to have a full-time maid for five years.

“However, when the maid returned to Indonesia in July last year, we decided that a cheaper option was to hire a part-time maid.

“We arrange for her to come in every Saturday since she’s already familiar with our house and general cleaning chores,” said the mother of three.

Quah said she was now paying the agent RM40 for four hours per visit, adding that she would hire the maid for a whole day (eight hours) for spring-cleaning before Chinese New Year.

Retired restaurant operator Rebecca Tan, 56, also said an hourly-paid maid was a wiser alternative as it was simply too costly to hire a full-time housemaid nowadays.

“Although my agent has increased the charge for four-hour maid service from RM40 to RM42, I don't mind paying the extra money.

“When I was running the restaurant years ago, I had a full-time maid to help me out. However, I had to bring with me everywhere. I also had to buy food, clothes and other necessities for her,” added the grandmother who is staying in an apartment in Island Park.

Last week, Association of Foreign Housemaids Agencies (Papa) president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan warned that employers might soon have to fork out up to RM8,000 to hire an Indonesian maid.

Maid agencies currently charge RM7,500 for each maid brought in from Indonesia compa-red with the RM6,000 fee charged early last year.

Businessman Desmond Fernandez said he paid about RM4,000 for a housemaid in 2000.

“Although she’s not perfect, I have learnt to live with her faults. I can’t afford to hire a new one these days,” he said.

An agent who wanted to be identified as Lim said she had been supplying part-time maids for nine years and she paid more than RM9,000 to hire Indonesian maids from the agents there.

“The ones benefiting from the fee increase are the agents. They take advantage of not only their customers but also of Indonesians seeking a better life in Malaysia,” he said.

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