DOMESTIC HELP: Have uniform cost structure for all maid agencies

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I AM surprised that the Human Resources Ministry has decided not to interfere in the issue of the new maid fee structure by allowing market forces to decide on the matter.

The crux of the issue is that the fee would be decided on by an association comprising maid agencies. What measures would be taken if these agencies overcharge employers and do not fulfil their end of the bargain?

Has the ministry instructed agencies to come up with a uniform itemised cost structure?

For example, clarity is needed on the issue of down payment, which should be RM500, upon the selection of a maid.

Upon approval by the Immigration Department, 50 per cent of the fee is to be paid. The balance will be paid only upon arrival of the maid.

The ministry should come up with guidelines that will penalise maid agencies if they go beyond the market rate in charging employers.

The realistic rate should be around RM6,800, inclusive of the upfront loan for each maid.

This will be based on the understanding that RM3,500 will go to the Indonesian side, RM1,500 to Malaysian maid agencies and RM1,800 to the maid's loan.

Maid agencies must provide the invoice for all costs involved.

If, however, more than three complaints are lodged against an agency, its licence should be revoked.

The agency must then be banned from submitting further applications to Immigration.

While the Immigration Department is involved in processing maid applications, the Human Resources Ministry should also be involved to protect taxpayers from being cheated.


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