KUALA LUMPUR - Families looking for maids must ensure that the agency they deal with is approved by the authorities, said MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau head Datuk Seri Michael Chong.
Chong held a news conference yesterday to highlight cases of two victims, Hee Kien Wei, 42, and Yee Wai Han, 48, who incurred losses running into thousands of ringgit when their maids ran away.
Hee and Yee obtained their maids in October last year for RM11,000 and RM11,500 respectively through the same woman. The agent had used different company documents when dealing with the victims.
She informed both victims that the working visas for their maids would only be processed if they were happy with the maids.
Hee, of Taman Desa here, was dissatisfied with his first maid and asked for a replacement who arrived in the same month.
In November, the agent returned to take the maid's passport, claiming she needed to process the maid's working visa.
Hee was given a three-month warranty for his maid, who ran away after the warranty period. To add insult to injury, the maid ran off with RM320 (S$125) cash.
Yee also asked for a replacement for her first maid. The second maid ran off after five days.
Both victims have not received replacements or refunds and have lodged police reports.
Checks by the MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau found that the different companies were registered to the same address.
According to Chong, four other families had fallen victim to the same agent.
"Potential employers must do their research on the agencies" said Chong, who also advised the public against relying on the recommendation of friends and family.
President of the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies, Jeffery Foo, urged employers to check the list of approved agencies at www.jtksm.gov.my.
"If employers do not get their maids from approved agencies, they risk forgoing any protection from the Tribunal for Consumer Claims."
According to Foo, thousands of people have been cheated by syndicates which are abusing Journey Performing Visas, which enable unqualified maids to enter the country as tourists.