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The Indonesian Manpower Services Association says new Indonesian maids will be trained cooks and caregivers, including to newborns and the elderly.

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIAN employers are not willing to pay RM1,000 or more for the services of an Indonesian maid, adding that they are not taken in by the republic’s promises of “well-trained” maids.

They said the monthly salary of between RM1,000 and RM1,200 was too expensive, despite the guarantee given by the Indonesian Manpower Services Association (Apjati) that the one-off cost of hiring these maids would not exceed RM7,300.

Many were doubtful about the quality of these maids despite assurances from the republic that they would be well-trained.

Bank employee Siti Rasidah Aziz, 40, who has been waiting for a year to get a maid, said she might opt for a maid from other countries since the fee for an Indonesian domestic helper had gone up.

“I would rather look for a maid from Vietnam or Cambodia as it would cost me only about RM700 a month.

“We do not need a middleman to help us secure a maid as my husband can source the maid. We need to pay only for the maid’s levy and other charges, such as transportation.”   

Siti Rasidah was also doubtful about the quality of maids.

“I had a lot of problems with my previous maids as they were stubborn and did as they wished. They did not take instructions and did not like to be questioned.

“They were also constantly on the phone, and worse, some even ran away.”

Fatimah Syed Mohamad, 53, who is also seeking a maid, said domestic workers did not have to be highly trained as their job was to help out with chores.  

“Maids can be trained by us so they do not need to be highly-trained. I think well-trained maids are needed only if they are going to work as housekeepers in hotels.

Housewife Farahiah Yusoff, 50, said the monthly salary was
too high as employers provided maids with lodging, food and paid for their utility bills and necessities.

She said for such a high salary, the maids must at least have tertiary education and not create problem for their employers.

In view of the higher salary for Indonesian maids, she said she would rather source a maid from Sabah, adding that she could afford to pay only between RM600 and RM700 a month, with a one-off cost of RM4,000 to bring in the maid.

“The Malaysian government should determine the fee,”  she said.

“Having an untrained maid is not an issue as I usually train my maid based on my needs,” she said, adding that her previous maids were sourced from Indonesia through family friends.

Kulwinderjeet Kaur, 36, was sceptical about the promises of trained maids as past experience had taught her otherwise.

“Despite the promises made by the agents, many of the maids were incompetent and did not last more than three months.

“Employers are left with the problem of sourcing for other maids and pay the one-off cost of hiring a new maid,” said Kulwinderjeet, who had two Indonesian maids.

“The agents claimed that the maids were qualified and capable of handling household chores.”

  Kulwinderjeet said she was willing to pay between RM1,000 and RM1,500 per month for a maid if the one-off cost was not more than RM4,000.

“The Malaysian government should do away with agents and let employers register directly with Apjati.

“The one-off cost should be fixed at RM4,000. The role of middlemen should not be promoted, as the end losers would be the employers waiting to hire responsible maids.”

The New Straits Times had, on Saturday, reported that Apjati, which is Indonesia’s largest recruitment agency, was ready to meet the demand for maids in Malaysian households, but said employers would need to pay between RM1,000 and RM1,200 a month for the service.   

However, Apjati president Ayub Basalamah said unlike the many Indonesian domestic workers already employed here, the new maids would be trained cooks as well as caregivers, including to newborns and the elderly.

The Malaysian Maid Employers Association said it was willing to work with Apjati to bring in the maids.

If this arrangement works out, Malaysian employers will pay no more than a one-off fee of RM7,300 for a maid from Apjati’s members.

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