Cutting maid costs by cutting out agencies

Cutting maid costs by cutting out agencies

MALAYSIA - Pushed to the limit by their maid woes, employers are appealing to the Government to take over the recruitment of foreign maids to make domestic help affordable.

Calling for a government-to-government (G2G) initiative for direct recruitment of maids, manager Kim Soo, 35, suggests that the government "cut out the third party bureaucracy once and for all".

Maid agencies earn from both employers and employees, she gripes, and asks for the middleman's role to be phased out.

Soo claims owners of maid agencies make so much from the high fees they charge that many drive Alfa Romeos, BMWs and other expensive cars.

"I paid a whopping RM10,000 (S$3,800) for my current Indonesian helper and have had to deal with rude and dishonest agents who won't give any information unless there's money involved," she says.

"If maid recruitment is done by the Government, it will be so much cheaper," she adds.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Malaysian and Indonesian governments would allow the maid recruitment agencies in both countries to work on a new memorandum of understanding to enable more Indonesian maids to work here.

The move would ensure that the number of maids to Malaysia reaches the desired level, he said.

The Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies, meanwhile, expects the price of hiring maids to go up with the new arrangement while the Malaysian Maid Employers Association regards it as "dangerous" to leave it to agencies to decide on the cost of hiring domestic workers.

Alexis Mark, 35, complains that the price of convenience is hefty.

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