Parents resort to other ways to care for their kids

PETALING JAYA: Working parents have given up hope of getting foreign maids at exorbitant recruitment fee of up to RM14,000 each.

Many have found other ways to care for their children like sending them to daycare centres, engaging the services of nannies or resorting to the traditional ways of having their parents, relatives or family friends look after their children.

Farah Suwardi, 38, a teacher at a private institution in Perak said she once considered hiring a maid to care for her two young children, but the current high recruitment fee was a setback.

She now sends both of her daughters, aged one and five, to a nanny near her house.

“The monthly salary for a maid can be between RM1,000 and RM1,500.

“I opted to send them to a nanny who only charges about RM250-RM300 per child,” said Farah during the interview yesterday.

A project engineer who wished to be known only as Mohd, 40, said news reports regarding errant maids made him jittery about hiring one.

He added that he would rather send his two boys to a family friend who babysits them.

“Nannies are more economical than a maid,” said the father of a five-year-old and a six-month-old baby.

Vivian Lee, 36, a senior executive, sends her three-year-old to a nursery.

“She is learning and also socialising with kids her age. I feel this is better for her development than just sitting around at home, playing and watching television,” she said.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the Government is trying its best to make qualified childcare services more accessible and affordable.

“We have made some progress and the Minister (Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim) will make an announcement soon,” she said.

Chew said that apart from childcare services, the Government also had incentives for working parents through agencies like TalentCorp through career comeback and flexi-work hour options.

Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia vice president Norma Abd Wahab said there has been an increase in children attending childcare centres since the introduction of Permata programmes.

Its objective is to unleash the potentials of children and sharpen their talents. Permata was formed in 2007 under the patronage of the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

“Most parents are now aware of the importance of early exposure for their child’s development and they know they cannot get this from their domestic helpers.

“What children get from helpers is custodial care which is not enough as development begins as early as the infant stage,” said Norma.