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You are here News Indonesian maids may soon cost more

Indonesian maids may soon cost more

GEORGE TOWN: Maid fees have skyrocketed in the past year and there seems to be no end in sight.

Association of Foreign Housemaids Agencies (PAPA) president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan warned that employers may 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 compared with the RM6,000 fee charged early last year.

“The situation is beyond our control. Our country is now last on the priority list of Indonesian maid agencies because of the low wages Malaysians pay,” Raja Zulkepley said when contacted.

Indonesia was the main supplier of maids in the country, accounting for 94.8% of some 330,000 registered maids, he added.

“Taiwan employers offer Indonesian maids RM2,400 a month while basic salaries are around RM1,700 in Hong Kong. Even Singapore and Brunei pay about RM700 to RM800, so it is no surprise that maids are flocking to other places,” he said, adding that Indonesian maids were paid about RM550 monthly in Malaysia.

Currently Malaysia's demand for maids clearly outstripped the supply, he said.

Rising global petrol prices was also a factor, as Indonesian maid agencies had increase their fees by about 30% at the beginning of this year.

“Of the fees charged to employers, RM2,415 goes to the local agency, about RM3,300 covers the maid’s salary for the first six months of service and the remainder goes to the Indonesian maid agency.

“RM2,415 is the standard rate of PAPA’s registered agency fees but with rising costs of transport and lodging, it is unlikely that this figure will stay the same,” said Raja Zulkepley.

He appealed to the Federal Government to help the local maid industry by reducing documentation fees, the levy imposed on an employer’s second or third maid, and urged authorities to come down hard on illegal maid agencies.

When contacted, Penang Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said it was time Malaysian agents begin sourcing maids from countries like Myanmar or Laos.

“Agents may need to spend some money training these maids, but it might prove to be more cost-effective in the long run,” he said.


The Star,25 June 2008