Focus View
Implement new maid hiring policy quickly
FocusM team | 03 Nov 2017 00:30
It must come as a huge relief to many Malaysians that they can now apply directly for a foreign maid instead of having to go through an agency.

It will also cost them at least 50% less. Currently, they have to pay from RM12,000 to RM18,000 to secure a maid. It will be a huge financial burden lifted, especially among civil servants. 

The new policy also fits well with the latest announcement under Budget 2018 to grant income tax exemption for women who re-enter the workforce after a break of at least two years. Being able to secure a good maid at reasonable cost will be instrumental in their decision to re-join the workforce.

Currently, the cost of hiring a foreign maid for the first year can come up to RM36,000. This is based on agency fees of RM18,000 and the annual salary of RM18,000. This works out to RM3,000 per month. If a woman does not earn a salary significantly higher than this, why would she want to go back to work? 

The current system is open to abuse by unscrupulous maid agencies. Employers are forced to fork out another RM5,000 for a replacement if the maid absconds or is unsuitable for the job. Many agencies also tend to “recycle” maids amongst employers, earning more fees. Thus, the accusations by the public that many maid agencies are dishonest. 

We also cannot fathom why maid agency fees have skyrocketed by some 400-500% in less than a decade. Surely this is excessive profiteering to take advantage of the growing demand for maids amidst falling supply? In recent years, Indonesia had stopped its maids from coming to Malaysia. 

Local agents blame it on their counterparts abroad but surely a 500% increase within 10 years is unacceptable? Applying directly will not only half the costs but will also be quicker as the processing time is faster online. Skipping the middlemen abroad can also result in stemming the outflow of funds from Malaysia. 

Unfortunately, the details of how to apply for maids directly has yet to be announced, leaving many prospective employers in the dark. We hope both the human resources and immigration departments sort this out quickly. 

What is the use of announcing a new policy if it cannot be implemented simply because civil servants sit on the job for weeks, or even months? 

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