KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar to bring in workers, including maids, from the country.
Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who joined Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for a two-day official visit to Myanmar today, said the MoU was a request by Myanmar.
Besides the maids from Myanmar, Malaysians could also bring in maids from Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines, he added.
Asked about the latest development on the arrival of the first batch of Indonesian maids following a two-year freeze by the republic, Dr Subramaniam said: "Just wait for another two weeks (and we will know)."
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the ministry was looking into training locals as domestic maids.
She said she had instructed the ministry's secretary-general Datuk Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, to begin with a pilot project soon.
"The ministry views the maid shortage issue seriously and I have asked the secretary-general to begin as soon as possible to train locals as maids," she said after handling over RM40,000 cheque to the Sivananda Home at Batu Caves yesterday.
She said the pilot project would include the teaching of basic skills like cleaning and cooking with emphasis on childcare and their safety.
"We cannot depend on foreign maids forever, we need to train our own. We are monitoring the situation now and we are afraid that if this is not handled, many women may opt to stay home than go out to work," she said.
Shahrizat said the trained locals can choose to work on hourly basis or until evening or stay with the employers. Their salaries will also be decided between the employer and the maids.
Malaysian Maid Employers' Association president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein told The New Straits Times, "I really hope that it's not an April Fool's trick" (on the arrival of Indonesian maids).