Maids made in Malaysia

Both Indonesia and Malaysia will emerge as losers from this maid deal. It is not a win-loose situation nor a win-win situation but a loose-loose situation in the long run. This overblown maid-abuse issue has shown Indonesia the fast-track to bang Malaysia for the buck. We are really getting banged, being poorly represented by Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam who continuously fail to leverage up with Indonesia's Manpower and Trans-migration Minister Erman Suparno in the series of negotiations taking place at the present moment. Both ministers are doing a bad job- one banging, banging and banging; the other receiving to the pulp, both not thinking right. Dr Subra, are you sore already.

1) The results of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) survey on Malaysians willing to pay RM700 monthly salary for a maid- which part of the population did the MTUC survey which represented the Malaysian people? RM700 is 155% of the current monthly salary of an average maid from Indonesia. To the reader I would like to pose a question- if you are a salaried worker and if your boss increases your salary by 50% today would his expectations on your work performance increase too? What is Subra trying to say here.

2) Mr. Erman Suparno mentions that “Being trained or untrained is irrelevant. The question is what are the qualifications required by employers for a domestic servant?"
Of course training matters la. Training is essential in every job ladey.
Being trained is the utmost qualification a domestic maid could have (whoops, the word 'servant' is kinda degrading) and nothing else. It does matter when coming to doing the job right and some training ensures that accidents do not happen. Even in factories employers prevent industrial accidents by repetitive safety training, so what about our homes. You wouldn't want cooking gas explosions nor hot-water scalded babies do you.

3)Eh, we are talking about minimum maid wages, but what about minimum productivity and efficiency levels? If expectations do not match up, coupled with higher wages, will this frustrate potential employers even more and lead to increased maid abuse cases?

Minimum wages, weekly off-day and covering maids under the Employment Act 1955 alone are not effective ways to prevent maid-abuse. Both parties Malaysia and Indonesia have come up with everything but the right answers. I do not have answers to all employer-maid issues but I can attest that minimum wages will not work for both employee and employee in the long run because of the nature of the current environment. I feel that many of the issues relate back to work quality. To improve performance standards, an effective method is to implement an appraisal system for maids, and the appraisal goes along with them as they get employed in Malaysia. No minimum wages please, but a standardised increase in wages according to appraisal results. These appraisal results should be signed off annually by the maid, the employer, the agency and the embassy. Maids with good ratings and good standing get more money. Free market economy. Also, this system provides potential employers a choice of hire between experience or new maids. Since maids are being considered under the EA1955, we can do it corporate style right.

As for insurance coverage, one day off per week and the rest of the luxuries I think I'm ok with it. I'm also ok with local holiday trips for that extra motivation and some R&R. Just do the job right.


  1. A factory worker in Seri Damansara area earns about RM25 to RM30 per day making that basic wage of RM550 to RM780 depending on 22 or 26 work days a month.

    Now someone is pushing for maids to earn at least RM700?

    And their demand for minimum wage been denied for decades for fear of pushing up cost of business and deter foreign investment.

    Over reliant on foreign maids is prevalent in Malaysia whereas in developed Western Countries maids are unheard of and what we do here amounts to gross abuse of human righs over there.

    The question is, how come the people there need not have maids to look after the children while they work.

    I can think of:

    1) very much higher efficiency and effectiveness levels

    2) first class child care facilities

    3) flexibility of working practices - i.e. work from home, flexi-time etc (won't work in Malaysia, generally)

  2. Its high time that Malaysians decided whether they want to live in the modern 21st century or that of olden times when 'owning' people and having servants was the norm.
    There are some commen thoughts that most Malaysians have about maids:-

    1) They are lesser then themselves
    2) They should work 7 days a week
    3) They should act subservient with employers
    4) Sleeping on the floor is ok
    5) They are stupid, thieves, or oversexed

    Get real malaysians. RM700 or RM800 a month is NOT a lot considering these maids are on duty all the time everyday.

    Most of the modern world dont use maids in the 21st century. In Australia women and men both work fulltime jobs, and run a household and look after children. They do it and so can you.

    Until you get with the modern world its about time you treated these women from indonesia with respect and rights, the same as you expect.

  3. Besides Australia which you have just mentioned, my sources in certain parts of Europe say that hiring a maid will raise eyebrows because the community perceives it as being an abuse of human rights.

    On maid salary in Malaysia, RM800 is not a lot, judging from what they go through, but unfortunately the Malaysian employers (both resident and non-resident alike) do not see it this way.

    Performance of maids range from low to high. The reasonable Malaysian employer can perhaps pay RM800 for an efficient maid but what happens if the maid's performance is the opposite. Should poor performers be paid the same rate as high performers? If yes, then there will be no incentive for the maid to perform up to expectations.

    The jump from RM450 to RM800 is seen as too high, in exchange for no promises to uphold work quality. Subramaniam must hit middle ground because there is no way out of this overnight. Why not take this opportunity to implement a performance rating system for maids & employers which allow reasonable incremental increase in salary according to job performance. If the maid meets the KPI’s this will result in salary increment and a good performance rating. A rating on maid employers will also keep the employers in check.

    I suggest maybe Subramaniam could give Idris Jala a call on this. As a HR guy, Idris has had vast experience in implementing effective HR systems. At the end of the day both the Malaysian employer and the maid should feel taken care of, other wise it’s no-go.

  4. What do you mean job performance? That is then up to the employer. As most of them can say and do anything to maids it will be the employers words over that of the voiceless maid...what you suggest will be corrupted for sure.
    How about doing away with maids altogether if not willing to pay them decent money for all the hours they do. If the western world can do it then Malaysians can do it. There is nothing better for a child's development to learn to clean up after themselves.
    I get so tired of the same old arguments about maid hiring and maids being stupid and lying. Treat them with the re3spect you would require.
    Im so happy they can have a day of rest too. Would you like it if you worked 24/7? No way Im sure and if someone held your passport you would think this a violation of your rights.
    Malaysia...the time machine has arrived to bring you into the 21st century.

  5. An appraisal on both maid and employer, that's what I mean.

    Anyway, cases of maid abuse like the one higlighted in this posting, is not representative of the population as a whole. I hate to think, by giving in to tall demands from Indonesia, we are just classifying the good employers in the same grouping as the abusers.