Saturday, June 27, 2009

No More Maids From Indonesia

Looks like Malaysians will not be able to get maids from Indonesia following the Indonesian Government's decision to stop its nationals from taking on such employment here.

This came about after the latest case of Siti Hajar, an Indonesian maid allegedly abused by her female employer for three years.

Hers, of course, was not the first reported case. A high-profile case before this was that of Nirmala Bonet.

Jakarta thinks that there are just too many of such abuse cases and wants to put a stop to all this.

I think Jakarta has got it wrong and is overreacting.

We all cringe when we hear of such cases. Punish the abuser, we cry. We all want to see justice served.

Of course, we understand the anger of the Indonesian Government over the abuse of their nationals.

I'd also like the Indonesian Government to understand that Malaysians are not as a people, abusive.

We are not a nation of abusers. There are abusers among us. When these abusers are made known to us, we make sure that they are dealt with accordingly.

Just ask around. Many will express their anger over Siti Hajar's case.

That is why I think Jakarta's reaction is hasty.

Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said an average of 50 cases were reported annually. There are some 300,000 Indonesian maids working here.

While the number is relatively small, any case of abuse is worrying. Still, I believe that by and large, Indonesian maids are treated well by their Malaysian employers.

I know of many cases of maids cheating their employers, abusing their charges and running away from their (good) employers. And there's really nothing that these employers could do.

I can imagine that there will be many Indonesians who will try to illegally enter the country to seek employment now that they will not be allowed to work in Malaysia as maids.

The truth is, Indonesians still look to Malaysia for a better life. The truth is, there are more good Malaysian employers than bad ones.

There are many issues (relating to employment of foreign workers) that need to be ironed out, particularly on policies and enforcement.

You cannot ensure that every employer will be good. But you can ensure that none gets away when he or she breaks the law.

We should ask ourselves if we need strict regulations in the employment of maids such as working hours and provision of off days and holidays.

Subramaniam has suggested that maids be given a day off a week. That's a fine idea. But I know that not all maids will benefit from this. Nor their employers.

I had a neighbour who would get a visit from the police every Sunday -- his (Filipino) maid would be back drunk or totally sloshed.

I had a maid who would come back from her weekend "cuti" all tired out after going to all sorts of places. I had to tell her to minimise her "bersiar-siar" and to just have a good rest over the weekend.

My current maid would have a dilemma over what to do if I ask her to go out on her off days.
She does not like car rides, much less, bus rides. She hates crowds and open places.

She much prefers to stay home and watch TV. Of course, she may be an exception to the rule. So, lucky me.

I'm not the world's best employer but to me, my maid is more my domestic assistant who helps me do what I am not able to do while I am at work.

My children are teenagers, so they're pretty independent. Still, I feel my daughter needs adult company while I'm at work.

My maid and I share the workload and chores. I won't allow her to do what I myself am not able to do. And she does not wash my car, nor clean the windows.

Her working days are actually what my days off are. Her days off are spent not washing, ironing, cleaning or cooking. Just resting.

I know that many working mothers need domestic help. Indonesians are generally hardworking and have been proven to be good as maids.

It's a pity that the Indonesian Government has taken such a stand.
I believe that they do not have to because I don't believe that Malaysians are bad employers.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

"Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said an average of 50 cases were reported annually. There are some 300,000 Indonesian maids working here."

Do you still believe with your Subramaniam?

Refer to data from Indonesian embassy in KL that there are at least 150 cases of abuse by employers every month ...

My question... Can you become a civilized nation?

Anonymous said...

What about other countries...???
The abused cases are even higher & worst...!!!
Any research done...?

What about maids stealing stuff, running away, destroying families, etc, etc......?????

Runaway maids has got the highest number if the Indonesian goverment doesn't know that...!!!

Are they gonna "compensate" us on this as we have to fork out money again......?????

Not all Malaysians are bloody "Devils" just like not all Indon maids are "Devils"........!!


Anonymous said...

1. Many employers had bad experience with the maids stealing and then ran away. Their small children were left at home on their own. Did the Indonesia govt helped us search for them? And our stolen money??
2. About time Lazy Malaysians start doing their own home chores. The kids are spoilt rotten nowadays, they don even lift their bags upon descending the school bus. The kakaks have to pick up these bags left outside the house and also the kids smelly socks! These mommies have to start teaching their kids to pick up after themselves now, good for independance.
3. No more cases of worrying about the gatal maids getting pregnant and arranging for their abortion when it happens!

So, I say good for this policy! Our Welfare Minister should speed up setting up more child care centres to be run by local women. Many single mothers here got no job and have to find work to feed their families. This is the best solution for all. We don mind more child-care centres to be set-up/start-up using the govt funds. These places will generate income anyway, and it will be profit-based. Maybe the govt will need to provide some van/small bus transport for these women as they stay in the outskirts/are too poor to come to work.

Cher said...

Exactly Jos.

The thing is about Malaysia is that there is no minimal wage, no specific labour laws with regards to maids, so it's easy for the Malaysian employer to think that the maid is 'theirs', like a piece of property with no voice. After all, some Msian employers do not let their maids keep their own passport, for heaven's sake.

Just that act alone is already a violation of the maid's rights, as well as considered by the UN, as an abuse of a worker. Do Malaysian employers care? No - because they have other ways of taking the 'voice' of the maid away, essentially making the maid a slave.

The root of the problem is why on earth to Malaysian people need a maid 24/7. A maid is not a NANNY, a maid is supposed to be a housekeeper that handles the house cleaning, and maybe involve other tasks such as doing the groceries and making sure the household runs smoothly.
Also let's face it, if there was no demand, there would not be any supply, and Indon agencies not to mention Malaysian agencies try to reap in as much profit by getting maids with no training, not of the correct age, possibly not medically checked and let them get hired by a Malaysian employer.
That and coupled with no legal rights and labour laws for maids, enables some Malaysian employers to go into a 'power trip' and abuse their maids in what ever way possible.

The gov and the Malaysian people should see the problem and confront them instead of getting their knickers in a twist and going into defensive mode - which is what is happening.
All this talk about sourcing maids from other countries - do YOU not think the SAME problem will occur?

Anonymous said...

I am fed-up of all these reports about Indonesian maids abuse. What about employer's abused by maids, agents, police, etc.

I personally experienced 3 indon maids who ran away just after the 3 months within a period of about a year. Lost nearly about RM8,000 on payments to agents to hire these maids. Made police reports everytime, what did police do? Nothing! Lazy police even scold me for not taking care of the maids! WTF!

The last run away maid, I made a report to Consumer Tribunal at KHEPDN, that the maid agency took away the maid after 3 months( got evidence to support this OK). The tirbunal ruled that the agency to refund the money paid. Till today waiting for my money to be refunded. WTF!

So fed-up, decided not to hire any more F%#?! maids. Use cleaning service cukuplah. Indon Maids can go to hell! For all my wife and I took care, they still ran away. Hope they all suffer and die.

giam2020 said...

Although we do not condone abuse
of maid by their employer, we feel
that it is time we diversity our
source of maid from other country
rather that to be caught in a situation whereby we are being held
to ransom.

Basree Rakijan said...

I never had problems with any of our maids. Todate I have had maids for the last 17 years. I only have two so far. The first one lasted 8 years. Then I stopped having maid thinking we could survive. Only lasted us 4 years. After that we employed another one, she is still with us, already 5 years.

My advice is, treat your maids like another human being!

Geronimo said...

Hi Nuraina - let me share this piece of story with you with regard to domestic maids. In 1979, when my eldest boy was 10 months old, my wife and I, decided to look for a maid as we were planning to move out from my parents' home and to be on our own. It didn't take me long to find one which was through an agency in SS2. This was a young Chinese girl from Telok Intan who was 16 then. She stayed with us for 22 years, i.e. when my boy turned 22, that she decided to quit and move on to Singapore to seek her fortunes there. During her stay with us, she was like a 'workhorse'. She was every family's dream maid. She cooked, she repaired my roof, cement my walls, looked after my two boys and saw to it that they were properly fed and even walked them to school when they were in kindergarten and primary. In order that she would not be bored with hoursehold chores, I bought a VCR for her and even rented video tapes like the popular Hong Kong series for her to watch. She had no interest in watching the videos somuchso that I ended up watching them and improving my Cantonese as well. She showed an eagerness to learn English, so twice a week for about 1-1/2 hours in the evening, I would coach her. Eventually she decided to enrol in a proper school that offered night classes and she was placed in the advance class. She is quite pretty, have the height and looks and many boys would drop by to try to date her. She was firm in telling them that she was not interested in any relationship as her 'yin fan' (fate) has not arrived yet. We gave her off days every Sunday, but she preferred to stay in and help around. She did not have proper education as she dropped out after Std 6 from a Chinese school in Telok Intan. In a summary she grew up with my family from scratch. Now even though she is in Singapore, whenever there is a public holiday either in Malaysia or Singapore, she would take a bus ride back to spend time with us and this has been going on for the last eleven years. Her stay would normally be for three days and during this time, she would help to clean up the house and cook our favourite dishes. Christmas time and all our birthdays are important to her to come back to help us celebrate. The day she announced that she would like to leave since my two boys have already grown up, I felt I have lost a right arm, but we are blessed that she is still there for us till today.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with Malaysians? They are just too lazy to do things themselves. What's so difficult about doing house work?

The kids are even worse. Overly pampered and undisciplined.

Time to make the kids wash their clothes, clean their shoes, cook their own food and grow up to be independent.

As to the over reaction from Indonesia, lets see how long they can stick to the ban. It is bad business for their 'organised' agencies and they should know it.

Malaysia should say thank you for that and look elsewhere for better maids.

Being self independent, I would not mind a maid from China, salaried by 'payment in kind'.

One bad apple don't spoil the whole basket but it is definite that there are more cases of bad maids as opposed to bad employers.


Anonymous said...

Beats me why the Indonesian Government don't spend the equal amount of time and energy to resolve the multitude of crimes and wrong-doings their wrokers are inflicting on us.

Illegal entries, robberies, petty theft, fake permits, murders, broken contracts, pregnancies, abortions, gang fights, rapes.....

Will they take off their rose-tinted glasses and see things for what they are.

selampit said...

Cher at 4:45 PM.

You said "The thing is about Malaysia is that there is no minimal wage, no specific labour laws with regards to maids, so it's easy for the Malaysian employer to think that the maid is 'theirs', like a piece of property with no voice. After all, some Msian employers do not let their maids keep their own passport, for heaven's sake."

Point taken. So why didn't those Indonesian women go to countries where they have minimal wage and specific labour laws? You know, like the US and western Europe. Because those country DO NOT WELCOME them.

Instead they always end up in countries where employers would not "not let their maids keep their own passport".

I DARE the Indonesian government to relocate those maids to 'advanced' countries where people are substantially more 'civilized'.

If it's possible, I don't think any Indonesian woman would want to risk her precious body used as an 'ironing plate' by PSYCHO employers in this country.

The other alternative would be the wealthy Gulf States, but then they'd risk sex slavery instead in the hands of horny Arabs. Remember, if they fight in self defense and kill their employers, they'd be sentenced to death.

Do you think that if the Indonesian government was able to CREATE and PROVIDE jobs to its people those poor women wanted to be here in the first place?

The Indonesian government has 'brilliantly' rescued its Tenaga Kerja Indonesia by FORCING 300,000 of its people out of job. Those 300,000 probably have millions THAT DEPEND on them.

Those 300,000 would probably return home and STARVE, or worse be manipulated into the 'adult entertainment' industry.

Who will care for them? You? Manohara Pinot?

To all those who abuse their maids "MAY BAD KARMA BE UPON YOU, IN THIS LIFE, AND IN THE HEREAFTER".

Anonymous said...

Maids are humans. With feelings like any one of us. I personally feel they deserve the rest day.

Help organize their schedule too so they can have a few hours off daily, for themselves(2.30pm to 4.30)

We should treat them well, pay accordingly, give good basic facilities (eg: a room and a small TV to herself), teach and guide them accordingly so they can blend in to your expectations.

Get part timers once a week to help her, at least giving this one day off to herself.

A well rested and a happy maid will make all the difference.

You will be surprised!!


q said...

maybe i just know too many nasty people, but i don't think i've known anyone who has maids whose treatment of them don't make me cringe. none.

el-Barokhas said...

We Malaysians are old fashioned, aren't we? The world had evolved faster than we realised . Slaves had evolved into servants; then maids, then helpers, and now, an unfashionable entity.

In the first world, people just get by using machines and intelligent electronic devices to take care of household chores. DIYS is class. Working mums take as much time off work to bring up their children, the way they ought, before sending them to nurseries and play-schools.

We Malaysians are Simple Simons. We just think about cost but not about value. We leave our infant children in the hands (and mercy) of overworked unknown entities - mercenaries, often unschooled - and expect our homes to be spick and span with our children well nurtured.

As occasional mistreatment and physical violence against children perpetrated by parents do occur, it would be naive to assume the same would not continue to occur against maids. For, there exists a measure of beast in every human as there exists a measure of love in every animal.

My ardent wish is for the Malaysian Government to stop allowing importation of foreign unskilled workers, not just of maids, to force Malaysians to be less dependent beings. The liberalisation of working conditions to allow parents time off for offspring duty and mandatory setting up of nurseries at all working places had long been overdue.