PETALING JAYA - Maids should be screened for mental health before being employed to avoid future cases of abuse, urged the Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama).
Its president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein also proposed that employers be checked for mental illnesses as well to be fair to the maid.
This comes in light of the gruesome case involving an Indonesian maid who allegedly slit the throats of two stepbrothers, aged one and five, before killing herself in Sungai Buloh on Tuesday.
"Currently, maids from Indonesia undergo general medical check-ups by the Indonesian authorities before being sent to Malaysia.
"However, this does not include mental health screening. It should be mandatory for both parties - the maid and employer," he said yesterday.
Engku Ahmad advised employers to go through the proper channels to employ maids and avoid resorting to illegal means, which may lead them to hire untrained and unsuitable maids.
He said Mama planned to start a one-day orientation course for maids and their employers this year to prevent misunderstandings between both parties.
"Most employers do not know how to manage their maids and give proper orders to them. The course will help foster a better work relationship between them," he said.
While most maid employers treated their maids well, Engku Ahmad said there were a few bad apples.
Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies president Jeffrey Foo said about 100,000 maids were brought into the country via the Journey Perform (JP) Visa, which was no longer allowed in Malaysia.
"These women have not gone through proper training and thus are not suitable to work as maids. They are like 100,000 time bombs waiting to explode in similar ways," he said.
Foo said too many employers were desperate to have maids and many unscrupulous agents took advantage of this by offering dubious workers as maids.
Under the JP Visa method, the domestic worker could be brought into the country on a tourist visa, which would then be converted into a work permit by the agency or the employer through an application to the Immigration Department.