Families fear higher cost of hired help

Costly help: The average cost of hiring a maid through agencies in Malaysia is about RM25,000 because of added costs related to the pandemic. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Families who are in need of a helper welcome the intake of 10,000 new maids under the Indonesian Domestic Helper Placement (PDI), but they have one big concern – the cost.

The Star had reported that the average cost of hiring a maid through agencies in Malaysia was about RM25,000 due to added costs related to the pandemic.

Homemaker Azrah Bashir, 39, from Gombak is worried about the quality of the maids.

She said she was fed up with those who often ran away soon after entering the country.

She said that although the intake was great news, there was no guarantee the maids would stick around.

“You can bring 10,000 or 20,000 but no one knows for sure if they will work. I have paid thousands to get house help when my sick mother-in-law was alive but some ran away after just two days for no apparent reason.

“I had to fork out RM10,000 just for the down payment and now the cost is even higher,” she said.

As for the quota of one maid to one household of no more than six, she said that would not be practical.

“What if a couple decide to have another child or live with their in-laws? Does that mean the maid will quit?” Azrah asked.

Digital content deputy manager Saiful Hadi, 31, from Kuala Lumpur said that although it was good news, his family would still not be able to fork out so much for a maid.

“Malaysians who can’t afford such steep prices must now resort to alternative solutions or to hiring locals to help out with their daily chores. Hiring a maid has become a luxury and privilege that only the upper echelons can afford.

“Presumably, as their minimum wage has been increased and with the ‘one maid per household of six’ rule, we expect that only the best will be provided to Malaysians,” he said.

For Malaysians who still need help but can’t afford to hire a full-time maid, they will have to turn to local maid services that offer hourly or daily rates instead, Saiful added.

Mum-of-three and business development manager Sundari Kumari, 36, from Subang Jaya, is urging for a system that helps make the process easier for applicants.

“It has been hard for us to get maids in, especially when additional hands have become a necessity for parents working from home who are unable to pay full attention to their children or work.

“If the system helps regulate the costs, it would be good for those who require help but are financially strapped,” she said.

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