First there was the domestic help issue in Singapore about allowing maids to get a day off starting in 2013. There were varying reactions to that ruling and now another maid issue has sparked in Malaysia. Indonesian maids are hired to perform only one chore…
Many families have become so reliant on domestic helpers to help keep households running smoothly. Especially with two parents working hard to put bread on the table. You have perhaps voiced your opinions about Singaporean maids getting a day off in 2013. In Malaysia, reports suggest that the Indonesian government insists that maids be paid RM700 per chore each month.
What does this mean? Well, maids are then hired for only one job. If your maid is the designated babysitter; then that is all that she will function as. She won’t be cleaning or cooking or helping granny take her pills. The specific duty needs to be clarified and established right from the get go. As you can imagine, this has sparked an outrage.
If you want your maid to do more than one chore—you simply have to pay her more.
According to Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah: “That is totally unreasonable, when most Indonesian maids stay in the house of their employers and they get to eat there too. They don’t even spend on transportation. In view of the Indonesian demand, we have no choice but to find substitution – using local manpower. We might as well pay the RM700 per job to our own people.”
The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has also expressed that this new development by Indonesia’s Labour Placement Development director-general Usman as “not reasonable at all”.
No more multi-tasking
Say, in any given day, your Indonesian maid sets out to do some cooking, cleaning, laundry and help around with the kids (all within reason). Sounds like a regular day for a maid, right? Those different chores actually make up four separate jobs in the new ruling. Meaning that your maid is then hired for four different chores, each costing RM700. This maid will be drawing a salary of RM 2,800—the salary of a typical Malaysian graduate.
Emily Siva, a new working mummy of one has this to say, “I think it’s ridiculous if they want to implement that. Does that mean the maid buys and cooks her own food if she is a caregiver and not a cook? Even local maids don’t make such rules. If this statement comes to pass the local day maids will be in high demand.”
Joanne Tan, a mother of two, on the other hand said: “I’d like to think there is more depth to that ruling than we know now…a maid shouldn’t be expected to do the amount of work we can’t handle. If a wife can’t do it, neither can a maid. I don’t make my maid do everything because it is physically tormenting.”
She added: “Honestly, what do you think of households that make their maid do everything from A to Z for a mere few hundred ringgit? Would you work for that amount? Some employers treat their maids like slaves, because they really do believe that’s a maid’s job.”
Some sentiments from our Asian Parent FB page
Lily Chin: Nowadays maids have better life than housewife !!! housewife no pay, no weekend off, no after 2 yrs contract end bonus ticket to go for holiday wif alone , have to cook , take care kids , housework, send kids to school ,plus take care old parents in home w/o any help……really unacceptable …
Rahmah Mohd Ali: How much are they paid as maids back in their own country in Indonesia? Get Indonesia to quote their salary first before demanding higher fr other countries. Cos back in Indonesia, maids are paid peanuts. So much less and working condition is worst with long hours.
Jessica Won: If gov ask all company to pay us 1 job scope 1 salary, i dont mind doing the same for my helper too! Like others mentioned, we also 1 salary many roles n scope! Wats there to complain??
Esther Siew-Choo: I think a lot of Malaysians, misinterpreted d Indonesia side. Most of us, be realistic pls, misuse their Indonesian maids, not just doing their own hse chores but bringing them to their in law’s to do ‘another ‘ hse chores too. Pls be humane, they r not robots. Some of us r guilty of practicing, driving d maids non stop. Therefore, we should understand why d Indonesian government r trying to protect their own people by stipulating such terms. However, I too do not agree to the terms. Bcoz my family genuinely need them to take care of my ailing mother,do hse chores and to cook for for us, a family of 6 people.
Chang Kee Fung: Esther, u right! Due to these people misuse the maid, their government stand out to protect them. But what about ours? What about those people who well threat the maid, just need them to do normal house work, take care child only… and how about those maid we have fully paid the permit but ran away? No action taken and yet we need to pay extra 200 if we wanted to make a police report to cancel their permit. actually many people don’t mind their demand but mind our government respond! If the mini salary is 700 + permit + agent free, then how much we need to pay for a maid? And yet only one maid one cores? they should request something reasonable and our government should respond reasonable as well…
Brian Chong: My office ask me one person do 5 person job? Can they pay me 5 person salary? ha-ha.
Elly Suhaila: So many demands from them!!! Yet work still the same. And if just taking care of kids…What will they do at home when kids out for school 6hrs?? My maid don’t cook for us cause we don’t trust them but even dat she can’t even cook for herself when we are not ard, hoping we will cook for her. They have such a good life living with us, everything head to toe well provided and their jobs only cleaning n take care of our kids. At work we have many responsibilities with 1 pay and yet we have better education level compare to their ppl. All these demands from them are ridiculous!
We can imagine the national outrage that has been sparked. How would you feel if your maid is limited to carrying out only one chore?