Friday, September 04, 2009

Indonesia Demands RM800 A Month For Their Maids

When Indonesian and Malaysian ministers sit down at a bilateral meeting Saturday (Sept 5), an issue they will be discussing is Indonesian maids. More specifically, their salary.

According to Indonesian media reports, Indonesia will demand a minimum monthly salary of RM800 for its domestic helpers.

Kompas online quoted remarks made by Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Da’i Bachtiar during a breaking of fast with some 400 Indonesian migrant workers at his office in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

He said maids received RM400-500 per month, but since March 2009, their wages had been raised to RM600 per month under an extended employment period.

Any Malaysian employer wishing to have their domestic helpers’ employment extended for another year or two, will be obliged to pay their domestic helpers at least RM600 a month.

"Otherwise we will not extend their work contracts," the one-time Indonesian chief of police was quoted to have said.

19 comments:

Naz said...

Salam Nuraina,
I wouldn't mind paying the current rate of RM600+ but will these Indonesian employees also be put under some kind of obligation to make sure that they too behave profesionally. The rates keep increasing but we keep on hearing all sorts of complaints too. Maybe even more now than before!

Anonymous said...

DO WE REALLY NEED TO PAY INDONESIAN MAID THAT MUCH.

I WOULD SUGGEST THAT MALAYSIANS
EMPLOY PATTANI THAIS OR ANY OTHER NATIONALITIES INSTEAD OF INDONESIAN'S MAID.

AFTERALL MALAYSIAN HAVE ENOUGH PROBELMS WITH INDONESIAN.

MALAYSIA BOLEH

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Naz,
i think RM800 is a bit steep. Perhaps, I'm not realistic in the sense that some people do treat maids like M A I D S. I've seen people bringing their maids to shopping complexes, and these maids wear uniforms.

Perhaps the Indonesian leaders think that that is how maids ought to be treated and therefore should be paid that much.

My maid is more like someone who helps me with chores that I'm not able to do while I'm at work. Now that my kids are big, she doesn't have to do all those little things anymore.

I'd not underpay my maid but RM800 would be overpaying my maid.

Anyway, there are more employers who treat their maids well than there are good maids who do their job well. there are many cases of maids running away. their cases go unreported.

two years ago, my dear friends's older sister was brutally murdered by her maid. Alleged. But overwhelming evidence points to her. She is still at large and police are still looking for her.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anon@5:52PM,

it's good that we have options.
my sister had a maid from Pattani. She was wonderful. She had to leave to get married.

I've been pretty lucky with Indonesian maids. Except for two. But just as well, because they turned out to be dishonest and had other motives.

My sister's Indonesian maid is fabulous. Has been with her for about 30 years. More like family. I'd say both my sister and her maid are lucky to have each other.

Naz said...

Salam Nuraina,
I consider myself lucky with my maids. Alhamdulillah they are more like family members than maids. Datang dan pergi dengan cara yang baik.
The current rate is fine and yes, I agree that the RM800 is a bit steep. But if they want to fix the tariff at that, then I think it is just fair to fix the code of conduct too. (tak perlulah sampai pakai uniform!)

My sister has been facing problems with every single one of her maids. She is on to number 7 now and has yet to find one that does not present her with any headache.
Maybe it is time to look to the north. hmm...

Greenbug said...

The Indonesian authority can also fix their maids at RM1,000 or more if they wish but have they ever considered the kind of quality they provide? Secondly, its a willing seller-willing buyer market... they can't fix a price like that. If I have a choice at RM800 for an Indonesian maid, I'd pay RM1,000 for a Filipino maid. Clean, honest, hardworking and no risk of being killed by an amok....

gaik said...

if for Rm800 a month why don't just employed malaysian for a maid. To think that they have to work in a factory for 500-600 around 10 hours, they will be better off working as a maid, maybe on hourly basis. just a suggestion rather than we have to take philiphine or indonesian maid but i'm not sure whether any malaysian want to be a maid.

Basree Rakijan said...

i had maids since my first child. he is 17 now. i only had 2 maids so far. all of them was with me for more than 6 years. no problem at all. in dec i will be sending my maid back for holiday. the whole family is visiting her kg.in malang, surabaya. my secret of keeping these maids longer is treat them like HUMAN being.

Anonymous said...

Most maids have to wake up early to prepare children to school. They have to work until night. Most work 7 day week, including public holidays. They don't only do house chores, they do "out of the house chores" as well, such as wash cars, follow the elderly Tuan to the park, walk the dog, buy stuffs at groceries, etc.

All these for RM800 a month and you call it steep? They are maids, not slaves. Even at RM800 a month, they should not work as live-in maids; they should work from 9 to 5, half day on saturdays, off on sundays and public holidays. Their work should be confined within the house compound.

Live-in maids, who have to slog like a dog according to the whimps and fancies of the "owners", should be paid around RM1500 per month.

RM800 should be the rate for 9 to 5, non-live in maid. Of course they will have to pay for their own accomodation and food.

For those who cannot afford maids, you shouldn't get married and have children in the first place.

Nacaleb

Anonymous said...

What we need is a free market, ie the Malaysian authorities allowing us to hire from any country as long as they meet health criteria etc etc. This way, the Indons can ask for what ever they want, and we have a choice to hire these Indons or maids from Thailand, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka etc.

It's about time we teach these Indons a lesson.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

naz,

yes. you're right.

if they want RM800, then there should be conditions from the malaysian side as well.

i think with maids, we have to treat them with well, as we would any employee. the difference is that they live with us, and we need to get along with them.

i, myself am a very private person. that is why, i don;t allow my maid work upstairs because there are so many personal stuff there -- mine and my kids'. essentially, she does the laundry (i have washing machine and dryer) irons (sometimes), cooks (for herself and for my kids), sweeps (kitchen), mops (downstairs), cleans the bathroom downstairs and water the plants (sometimes because i usually do it).

she does not vacuum nor dows she cleans up the rooms and bathrooms upstairs.

i think your maid are as lucky to have you as their employer as you are to have them working for you.
it works both ways.
anyway, i hope your sister has better luck with ehr maids.

thank u.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anon@10:37AM (nacaleb)

Perhaps these are the kinds of employers you know.
my maid wakes up for subuh for prayers as I do. yes, she gets the bread out and stuff for my daughter but she does not prepare my daughter for school.

I prepare my children for school.

i don't usually have meals at home. And I usually prepare the meals in the morning before i go to work because my kids prefer my cooking.except for the vegetable dish and ikan goreng which are better cooked close to mealtimes. My kids do have meals at home weekdays but there are many times i buy them their favourite dishes from secret recipe, Lake Club, Basil or Delicious. Sometimes, they order pizza for dinner.

so essentially, if she prefers her own dishes,she cooks for herself but that's ok. i sometimes eat what she cooks.

she does not do cars, or even windows. i don't have dogs or cats.

she is live-in. but she does not slog. from the time she wakes up until she sleeps (about 9pm), there a chores but mostly she is able to rest an watch TV.
it's like she is at her own home. i'll bet there's more work at her own home.
she does not like to take off days because she does not know what to do because she does not like to go out. weekends, i take her to my dad's place (where my sister lives) and she gets together with her my sisters' maids who are her 'tetangga".

her work days are my off days.
when i am off, i do the cooking and vacuuming and mopping (upstairs). and yes, i clean the two bathrooms upstairs (mine and my kids') because it is therapeutic. I sometimes clean the downstairs bathroom as well if i think it needs further cleaning.

i buy her her essentials besides clothings once in two months.

so, yes...because i don't treat her like a servant, much less a slave, i think RM800 is steep.

and you are right -- RM800 for non-live-in maids working regular hours like any other employment.

but you know there is a marked difference there.

in fact, i give my maid RM20 to keep and the rest goes to her bank account.

i used to give my maids (in the past) their salary each month. they would blow it all up with all sorts of buying and did not have much savings by the time they left for home (for good). one maid lent a relative who is a permanent resident here) RM5,000 because this relative who was doing business needed cash to cover soem losses. my maid didn't tell me until she was desperate when this relative did not pay up.
i told her off because i had advised her not to lend her money to people especially relatives in business.

so, she left for home with very little in savings.

since then, i have opened bank accounts for my maids (i usually have my maids for 3 years -- they go home once in between -- because i think they need to be with their families and take stock of their life before reconsidering being re-employed). I give them RM20 or RM30 to have in their hands as they don't need much for anything else and they just need to ask me if they do. the rest is in the bank so that by the time they leave, they'd have a lot to start a new life back home.

before i had this maid (from Java), i had one from sumatra. her salary was banked in save for RM20 in hand. she was a widow and was doing great until one day i received a call from her family, they wanted to marry her off to someone. she was so unhappy because she thought that the man wanted her because she was "rich". anyway, after much persuasion from her family, she reluctantly left and pleaded with me to take her back if her marriage did not work out. I told her I couldn't promise her that but i told her to take care and to make sure whoever she married would not "cukur" her.
but if she needed employment, i would help her.

and about passports. i keep my maids' passport as I do my kids' because i trust myself and they trust me.
passports should be kept safe. it's not like i am hiding her passport.

however, i let my maid have it when she goes out with or without me. but my maid doesnt like to go out on her owm.

Anonymous said...

May be interesting to find out how much the Elites in Indonesia pay their maids ; Do they give their maids a day off weekly there.

For a much better perpective - how much do the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia pay their own Indonesian and Malaysian staff.

Uranus

Anonymous said...

I hear from Indon friends in Jakarta they only pay their (local) maids (live-in) less than RM200 each per month. Therefore RM800 as basic salary is steep - because we still have to pay, in addition, for their daily meals, medical expenses (dental, sometimes vision), phone calls home, new clothes, shoes, toiletries (they hardly come with much), new clothes for raya, pocket money, govt levy, insurance, agency fee. It will be much more than 800 a month, trust me! Having said that, having a trustworthy, caring, helpful maid is definitely worth all that.

But based on my own experiences, I think it should be scaled according to the individual's abilities. I have had (thru agencies) maids that don't know how to clean, use basic appliances, can't cook (really, not a single thing!) etc, and those ladies are not worth the salary requested. I mean, would you pay prime market rate for a secretary who cannot type, don't know how to use the computer, ... you know what I mean.
I think the Indo govt must first treat their women coming here as serious workers (like the Phillipines) and train them properly, and then they can demand such rates. In the meantime, we should open up to domestic workers from other countries, to create some healthy competition.

Anonymous said...

Apa kah angka sebenar bilangan pekerja wanita pembantu rumah di Msia siape yang Tahu ?
Ade berita kate 30,000 orang.
Ade berita kate 300,000 orang.
Tapi yang terang dan nyata semenjak june 2009, apebila Indonesia tidak membenar penghanatarn pekerja baru,saya tak nampak,dengar,bace,lihat berita yang ramai majikan menjadi huru hara kerana ta ade yang baru di hantar.
Tak jugak dengar orang Indonesia melalak dan baling telur kerana di halang datang ke Msia.
Makna nya ,semua ini mainan wayang kulit kan ?
Watak dan peranan masing masing semua orang tahu siapa.
Lakun saje dan buat kenyataan batuk sini dan batuk sana.
Tapi tak ade pun jeritan dari majikan majikan yang terdiri olih satu keturunan bangsa aje.
Sebab mereka dah tahu cara dan jalan.
quo vadis.
changkat lobak.
arjuna waspada.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about equitable compensation, commensurating with their qualification and experience. Filipino domestic helpers are trained and because they sepak English, it does help with the kids' learning. Not much can be said with the Indon workers.

BTW, I was told (by a friend who heard it from his Indonesian friend) that the Indonesians pay their helpers about RM200 per month, and they work all day long. They eat in the kitchen, on the floor. When the employers go out, they are locked inside the house, without house keys as the employer is afraid that they might run away or bring someone home. Maybe this is the exception, but I think most Malaysians do treat their helpers well, better than the Indonesians. However, the helpers often dissapoint.

Anonymous said...

I've just employed my 4th maid over the span of 12 years, and she's not INDON. I'm happy and she's doing a great job.

Indons are hard to handle. Their contracts last for 2 years and it takes 1 1/2 years for them to finally understand to separate coloured and white laundry. Okay, okay, make it simpler..to make them understand that they need to rinse the wiping cloth after few wipes instead of using it to wipe the whole house, like multipurpose. Get rid of Indons!!

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

my second response to Naz consists of horrendous typo errors that cause some grave grammatical errors.

these...as a result of thinking faster than i type..

my apologies...

Anonymous said...

There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working ,great job!