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Allow maids from China, Myanmar

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government must seriously consider allowing in maids from China and Myanmar as recruitment agencies in Indonesia have pushed the fees so high that it may reach an astonishing RM8,000 soon.

“We know some quarters are against hiring maids from China, fearing it may spark social problems and marital havoc.

“But, we have reached a point where we either continue to quietly suffer and pay the increasing rates imposed by Indonesian agents or, we try out maids from China,” said Association of Foreign Housemaids Recruitment Agencies (PAPA) secretary Foo Yong Hooi.

He added that there was a ready market for maids from China. Employers, especially those in the higher income bracket, had asked local agencies to hire such maids for them because of the similarity in language and culture.

Foo said he understood the concerns raised and suggested a trial period. The Government could allow in 5,000 maids from China and monitor the development.

“We can impose conditions, such as the consent of wives and a minimum age requirement for the maids,” said Foo.

He added that maids from China could be sourced from the northern provinces such as Szechuan and Wunan. Foo estimated the monthly salary would have to be about RM1,000.

He also urged the Government to consider maids from Myanmar. Currently, only male general workers are allowed to work here.

By LOONG MENG YEE
The Star, 27June 2008

It's illegal to get own maids

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KUALA LUMPUR: The higher cost of hiring maids from Indonesia has prompted some Malaysians to take the easy way out – to go to the source country and bring home a maid.

But this has proven to be a costly affair for some. They have been caught by Indonesian authorities just before departing and had to pay dearly for their ignorance.

Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Zainal Abidin Zain said a Malaysian was detained for three months in Sumatra because he failed to get the proper document to bring an Indonesian maid back.

Another was remanded in Jakarta recently but was released after one day. He declined to give details.

“We’re getting reports of some Malaysian employers coming to Indonesia to personally hire a maid. This is made possible as their relatives may be living and working in Indonesia, thus making it easy to hire one and bring the maid home.

“The problem is their act is illegal as it contravenes Indonesian regulations which require all Indonesian workers to be employed through appointed labour agencies. These agencies will process the necessary documentation,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Zainal Abidin said he wanted to caution other Malaysians that should they be detained for a similar offence in future, they could be charged for human trafficking.

“I want Malaysians to be aware of the proper procedures. They can check with either the Malaysian embassy or the Indonesian embassy in Jakarta on the guidelines,” he added.

Zainal Abidin also said the Indonesian government has proposed a review on the MoU to bring in maids to Malaysia.

“The RM3,700 recruitment fee for levy, travel, documentation and others is no longer feasible.

“There is an additional cost involved now as the Jakarta agents have to search for maids in the interior. Their search costs money,” he said.

By MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR

The Star, 26 June 2008

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.

By ANDREA FILMER

The Star,25 June 2008

Papa minta hapus kursus induksi untuk amah

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan diminta menghapuskan kursus induksi untuk pembantu rumah Indonesia dan mempercepatkan proses kelulusan membenarkan pekerja sektor itu memasuki negara ini.

Persatuan Agensi Pembantu Rumah Asing (Papa) mendakwa kursus itu yang mula diwajibkan mulai 1 Jun lalu kini membebankan majikan yang terpaksa menanggung bayaran RM120 untuk membolehkan pembantu rumah mendapat sijil kelayakan (CE) bekerja di Malaysia.

Presidennya, Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan, berkata tanpa sijil itu, pekerja Indonesia seperti sektor pembinaan, peladangan dan pembantu rumah tidak layak bekerja di sini.

Katanya, mereka yang menjalani kursus itu di beberapa pusat latihan yang diiktiraf Kerajaan Malaysia dan mendapat CE akan disenaraikan dalam sistem komputer Imigresen di sini.

Beliau mendakwa agensi Papa kini sukar mendapatkan pembantu rumah Indonesia berikutan proses kelulusan oleh pihak berkuasa di sini untuk membawa masuk pekerja berkenaan mengambil masa terlalu lama antara tiga hingga lima bulan.

“Saya sudah menghantar surat kepada Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar dan Menteri Sumber Manusia, Datuk Dr S Subramaniam pagi tadi (semalam) supaya mengkaji semula kursus induksi itu membabitkan bayaran sebanyak RM120 terpaksa ditanggung majikan.

“Surat sama juga dihantar kepada Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak selaku Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kabinet Mengenai Pekerja Asing.

“Saya berharap kerajaan mengkaji kenapa proses kelulusan untuk membawa masuk pembantu rumah terlalu lama menyebabkan majikan menuduh Papa tidak bertanggungjawab,” katanya.

Beliau diminta mengulas kenyataan Dr Subramaniam minggu lalu bahawa kerajaan tetap dengan keputusan mengenakan bayaran wajib RM120 kepada majikan yang memohon pekerja dari Indonesia walaupun dasar itu didakwa menyulitkan proses mendapatkan tenaga kerja dari republik itu dan membebankan majikan di sini.

- Petikan Berita Harian,07 Jun 2008

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