KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 – There are currently two mechanism used in getting foreign domestic helpers into the country, namely under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Malaysia and the supplying countries, which had so far been inked with Indonesia, while the other mechanism is not sanctioned under any MoU, Parliament was told. Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Ismail Abd Muttalib said through the MoU, employers here are not allowed to hire the Indonesian domestic helpers directly and have to engage a third party, the private employment agencies that are recognised by both countries and the cost to engage a foreign domestic helper has been set at RM7,800.
“The cost is considered acceptable compared to costs imposed by other receiving countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and those in Middle East. Our cost is seen as less competitive had caused employment agencies in Indonesia to be more interested to send helpers to those countries as it is more profitable for them (agencies). “This has resulted in lower supply of domestic helpers to this country. The salary offered here is also another factor and for the same reason, the trained helpers preferred to work in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“As for sourcing domestic helpers from other countries, it depends on the delegations in Malaysia and the existing Immigration rules,” he said in responding to a question by Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas). On a supplementary question by Ngeh who told the house that he had received complaints by employers that they had to fork out as much as RM16,800 and that some domestic helpers did not receive pay for months, Ismail said the hiring process might not be done under the MoU mechanism.
“Under the MoU signed in 2011, there are 400 agencies that have agreed to follow this procedure. There are at least 1,293 agencies, of which some might not follow this. We advise employers to hire domestic helpers through the procedures under us. If it is done through illegal agencies, of course the implication (of the high fees) will be passed on the domestic helpers.”