This is a good proposal subject to the condition that the employment agency fees be reduced as the current agency fee for an Indonesian maid has risen to RM7,000 and the maid will refund approximately RM1,700 from deductions of their monthly salaries being cost of their agency fees in Indonesia.
There have been many proven negative social problems (more than 90%) experienced by many decent employers concerning the compulsory rest day for the Indonesian maid. These maids would always end up having sexual affairs with fellow foreign male workers or even local Malaysian males and all these would result in serious social problems.
I would, therefore, suggest to the Human Resources Ministry to consider the proposal below when negotiating with the Indonesian Government as regards to the optional rest day granted to Indonesian maids, passport holding and counselling services:
> Define a reasonable basic wage for the domestic maid.
> This will need to take into consideration food and lodging expenses that the employers will have to pay in maintaining a domestic maid.
> Maids working experience, knowledge of cooking and rest day be made optional so that the maid can make a choice. If the maid chooses to work on a rest day (Sunday), then the employer will need to pay an extra day’s salary for that rest day.
> The Immigration Department has an ID card for foreign workers including maids, and this is good enough for maids to carry with them whenever they leave the house. The passport should always be kept by the employer for security reasons. This will help to deter the maids from running away due to outside influence.
> Agents or the Human Resources Ministry should employ well-trained officers to counsel problematic maids. If no significant improvement is seen within a grace period of three months from date of complaint raised by employer, then the maid concerned will need to be replaced by the agent with a reduced fee.
Our minister should understand the true predicament faced by most decent employers and be able to come up with a fair MOU with the Indonesian Government.
As employers, we have the right to be protected if we face disciplinary problems with maids as most agents in the country do not counsel the maids if there are any work-related problems.