Sunday, February 21, 2010

Maids and their employers must attend half-day course

KUALA LUMPUR: From next month, all new foreign maids and their employers must attend a half-day course aimed at improving working relations between them.

 The course that is being organised by the Human Resource Ministry is also aimed at reducing the number of runaway maids and physical abuse by employers.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam said the maids will attend the course within six months of employment.

He said the ministry found most Malaysian employers to be responsible and supportive but “there is this one per cent who tarnish the country’s image”.

At present, there are some 216,000 foreign maids in Malaysia with some 2,000 new maids entering the country every month.

Subramaniam, who was speaking after launching a 30-page booklet on foreign maids here yesterday, said the ministry was also hoping to engage the maid employment agencies to do more than just to bring the maids to their employer.

“We want them to act as a middle person and look into the management of the employer and the maid. They should also be able to counsel both the parties,” he said.

At present, the agency is obliged to replace a maid if the employer finds the helper unsuitable or to replace a runaway maid.

The course, which will be held during weekends, will also look into the contract’s terms and conditions for salaries, working conditions, tips and how to end a contract.

Those attending the course will also receive the book of guidelines with hotline numbers, government address and phone numbers.

Officials from the maid agencies, police, Immigration and Labour department will also attend the course to know more about their role in issuing permits and to look into enforcement issues.

Asked if the ministry agrees with the recent call by Indonesia for a minimum payment of RM800 a month for an Indonesian maid, Subramaniam said the ministry has rejected the demand.

“Our stand is clear. We will allow the market to decide on the pay because if we allow one country to decide on the pay, we will also have to entertain others,” he added.

The majority of maids working here from Indonesia, followed by maids from Philippines, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar. - NST

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