No more guarantee for maids

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Apr 2008

PETALING JAYA: Some Indonesian agencies are no longer offering the three-month guarantee to replace runaway maids, a move that may result in Malaysian employers being forced to shell out a few thousand ringgit for another maid.

Malaysia Association of ForeignHousemaids Agencies (Papa) secretaryFoo Yong Hooi said agencieshere could give such a guaranteeonly when their Indonesian counterpartsgive such protection.

“It is a back-to-back agreement.With the replacement warranty,local agencies are assured of gettinganother maid from their Indonesiancounterparts for free in the event thefirst maid runs away from heremployer during the first threemonths of employment,” he told TheStar.

Without the guarantee, localagencies had to pay a few thousandringgit to get a new maid as replacement,and this was a cost the agencieshere were not willing to bear.

Foo said the association’s statisticsshowed that out of every 10 maids,two will run away, disappear or berejected by employers in the firstthree months.

He said Indonesian agencies werecalling the shots because demandwas far outstripping supply.Apart from the traditional reasonof other countries luring away maidswith higher pay, Indonesia’s improvedeconomic situation was alsoan important factor.

“Indonesia is attracting foreigninvestments, and many factories arecoming up there. Factory workersthere could earn about RM250 permonth, so unless they are gettingmuch more abroad, many areenticed to take up local employment,”he said.

Foo added that some local agencieswere also to blame for the withdrawalof the guarantee. Intense competitionto get maids has resulted inagencies here offering to take maidswithout needing the Indonesian sideto provide the guarantee.

He said Papa had sent out lettersto its members not to resort toundercutting each other to getmaids.

He added that it was also unhealthyfor local agencies to startpaying extra to their Indonesiancounterparts on top of the agreedamount.

“Eventually, the higher cost istransferred to customers. It isalready very difficult for employersto have to pay thousands of ringgitto hire a maid,” said Foo.

As for employers, he advised themto insist on having the three-monthwarranty when hiring a maid.

However, he realised that someemployers were desperate for maidsand with the short supply situation,might disregard caution and takewhatever deal offered by local agencies.

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