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KUAlA LUMPUR: The home managers’ programme is being considered to solve the shortage of foreign maids, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said yesterday.
This is one of the measures being looked at following Indonesia’s intention to gradually reduce the number of its citizens working abroad as maids to zero by 2017.
Dr Subramaniam said locals who had Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia qualifications could be trained to cook, clean, baby-sit and manage households.
“They will become more than just live-in maids. As home managers, they qualify for a higher income,” he said in Dewan Negara.
The programme was an initiative introduced under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in 2009 to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign maids.
However, it was not well received, as those who completed the training chose not to become maids.
Dr Subramaniam said some had opted for more lucrative jobs, such as going into business and working in hotels or resorts.
“We need to address several issues when employing locals as maids.
“Most Malaysians, who have minimum SPM qualifications, do not consider being maids as a lucrative career choice.”
The minimum salary for Indonesian maids is RM700 per month.
Dr Subramaniam said if locals were to take on their roles in the future, employers should expect to pay more since they would not be interested if the salary was low.
“If you look at the Philippines’ maid situation here, there were 78,000 Filipino maids before.
“After their government imposed a minimum wage of RM1,000 for their services, their numbers dwindled to about 14,000.”
Apart from the programme, he said the government was looking at ways to create conducive working environments for women in workplaces and communities.
“If we look at First World countries, maids are not regarded as a priority.
“They are employed by the rich only because they have a system that provides care for their children and household cleaning.
“Our intention is to provide these necessities in the near future, like day-care centres in workplaces.
“With a system in place for children, parents can be free of worries about their child’s wellbeing.”
He said more than 100 Indonesian maids would arrive here before end of the month.