Many fall prey to maid scam

KUALA LUMPUR - There is an agency here which charges up to RM11,500 (S$4,500) to supply a domestic worker to desperate households.

That's a lot of money to pay for a maid who is illegal and an agency which is not even licensed!

And there's more to boot - the maid is usually not up to mark in performance and disappears after a while.

So far, six cheated employers have lodged police reports against the agency concerned.

Property agent Yee Wai Han, 48, said he paid the hefty sum to the agency last October to hire an Indonesian maid.

"Within the first few days, I caught the maid talking to someone on the telephone about running away. So, I called the agency to have her replaced with another maid," she said, adding that this was not done.

Another victim, accountant Hee Kien Wei, 42, also paid RM11,000 to the agency for a maid.

"Several weeks after getting my maid, I asked for a replacement because I was not happy with her work.

"The agent replaced the maid but the second maid ran away after three months," he said, adding that she also stole RM320 before that.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong, who met both victims yesterday, said four others had also complained about being cheated by the same agency, which uses different names under the same company address and business registration number.

"There is a growing trend of unlicensed maid agencies supplying maids in the country with 17 cases reported to my office since last year with total losses at RM230,000," he said.

He advised the public to go through the proper channels when deciding to hire foreign maids to avoid being cheated by illegal agencies.

Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo, who was also present, said the unlicensed agencies abused the loophole in bringing in foreigners from Indonesia to work in Malaysia under the "Journey Perform Visa" (JP Visa).

"This loophole allows employers in Malaysia to bring in Indonesian workers on a tourist visa before converting it to a three-month-long temporary work pass," he said.