Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maid One Day Off: Knee-jerk Reaction

I first wrote briefly about this issue on last Thursday, 18th June but since it continues to attract a lot of media attention, I thought I should elaborate on this matter.

Ever since the Minister of Human Resource suggested giving maids a one-day off, there has been an ongoing debate about the merits and the demerits of giving the maids a one-day off a week. In principle, it sounds good. As an employee, they are entitled to one-day off per week. However, the suggestion raises more questions than answers. Hence, it looks as if it is a knee jerk reaction from the Ministry of Human Resource.

While we have to safe guard the interest of the employee, we should not forget that the interest of the employers should also be protected. There are 2 sides of the coin. Employers will have horror stories to tell you about their domestic maid.

There are about 250,000 to 300,000 maids in our country. Most of the maids are from Indonesia with a small number from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Philippines. Any Indonesian maid can easily blend into our society because of the similarities in language, food and facial look. Last year, I am given to understand that more than 10,000 maids ran away from their employers for various reasons and they cannot be traced. Cases of maid been abused numbered about 50 last year. While no maid should be abused, it is obvious that the number of maids that are abused are small in numbers, but because of the adverse publicity generated, it gives the impression that Malaysian employers are not humane. The press doesn’t highlight the 10,000 domestic helpers who just disappeared into the thin air. Hence, we have to have a balance picture of the domestic maids in this country.

If the one-day off is really implemented, who is to enforce this? It will have to involve many Ministries, from Human Resource to the Immigration and the Police just to enforce this bearing in mind that there are many maids who are illegal. The risk of maids absconding will definitely go up. Then there is this question that the maid on the day off will definitely need to go out. Their outside friends will be a cause of worry to the employers. I am one of those victims where my maid’s boyfriend having gained access to my house, stole whatever they can lay their hands on while we were away.

Malaysians should not overreact to cases of abused maid. The sick employer will have to face the full forces of the law. Hence, any legislation should also take into consideration the interest of the employers. It should look into the question of enforcement. Without enforcement, the legislation will just be good on paper. Maid agency can play a more prominent role in helping to monitor the domestic maid. They are the one who are the first line of contact with the domestic maid.

As usual, Indonesia has threatened not to send maid to our country. If I’ve not forgotten, this is not the first and definitely not going to be the last that Indonesia has threatened Malaysia. A lot of Indonesians find Malaysia an ideal place to stay, either legally or illegally.

Indonesia faces double-digit unemployment figure. Foreign remittance by its citizens working overseas constitutes a substantial portion of the country’s direct revenue. Hence, Indonesia’s statement is more like political posturing, which is unlikely to happen.

自从人力与资源部建议强制雇主给女佣一天周假以来,各造陆续针对此建议的正负两面展开激辩。原则上,此建议听起来不错。身为雇员应该享有一天周假。然而,这项建议却挑起了更多问题。人资部的建议,在更大的层面上被视为人资部的膝跳反应。


我们照顾雇员的利益之余,也要保护雇主的利益。凡事一体两面,许多聘雇外国女佣的雇主,都有过骇人听闻的遭遇。


我国目前有25万至30万名外国女佣,大部分来自印尼,部分来自缅甸、巴基斯坦及菲律宾。基于语言、饮食习惯甚至样貌相似,印尼女佣容易融入我国社会。据我了解,去年共有一万名外国女佣,因各种原因逃离雇主家,不知去向。同年间,虐待女佣的个案约50宗。雇主当然不能虐待女佣,但显然的,国内发生的虐待女佣个案数目相对不高,却因负面宣传而让外界留下“大马雇主不人道”的恶劣印象。至于一万宗女佣逃走的个案,却未获媒体高度重视和报导。因此,我们需要给有关行业一个平衡的画面。


话说回来,如果一天固定周假的建议敲定落实,该由谁负责执行?因为它将涉及多个部门:人资部、移民厅甚至警方,别忘记了我国有许多非法女佣。雇主面对女佣潜逃的风险也相应增加。女佣在休假日外出,他们在外的朋友是雇主的忧虑。我家聘请女佣就曾有过不愉快的经验。曾有一位女佣在外认识了男友,其男友趁我们外出时潜入家中行窃。


我认为,大马人民不应对虐待女佣的事件反应过敏。那些伤害女佣的雇主当然得接受法律制裁。但是,任何条例也须顾及雇主的利益,并且要加以执行,否则只沦为纸上谈兵。与此同时,女佣代理中心应该发挥监督的角色,因为他们是首个与受聘女佣接触的单位。


一如既往,印尼威胁将停止输出女佣。如果没记错,这并非该国首次发出如此声明,相信这也不会是最后一次。对印尼女佣而言,大马是一个理想的居住地方,不管是合法或非法逗留。


目前,印尼面对双倍的失业率。印尼公民出国工作的汇款,占了该国直接收入的极大部分。因此,印尼政府的声明看起来只是一种政治姿态,不太可能会发生。

11 comments:

eddy said...

Agree with you Doc, the number of abuses is very small and given way too much publicity by our main stream media. Besides maids running away which happened to me twice in three years and both times because they met boyfriends in JB and the love birds wanted to go back and get married back in Indonesia. Everytime this happen, I feel that I am the one who is abused because every time the maids run away I have to make a police report and then fork out more money to get a replacement.

There are also instances where maids abused the children in their care when the parents are not home, but this does not get into the news much as the mainstream media do not report this probably because "mereka mahu jaga hati Pemerintah Indonesia agak nya".

Anyway I think the Indonesian Government knows the statistics and what actually is going on in Malaysia but their posturing about withholding maids to Malaysia will only mean one thing and that will be increased service cost and taxes which means we Malaysians will have to pay much more in the future for maids services.

Mike said...

I watched with disgust yesterday on the parliament new cast. This sort of rubbish MP should be sacked and thrown into the south china sea. The way he behaved and challenged one of the MP to step out side for what? Is he going to resort to physical violent to settle the differences? What a sad demonstration. This is a clear reflection on the quality of our so called elected Yong Berhomat. What is there to berhomat these sort of rubbish.

And the speaker is clearly bias. This sort of gangster behavior should be put to stop immediately. Actually he should be immediately ban from the parliament to teach him a good lesson. If he can behave so unruly in the Hormat Parliament, what else he is not capable of committing outside? Only god will know.

As a appointed cross parties coordinator, I would suggest you look into your own mess and try to put the house in order first by clearing this shit West Port crap

Low C. W. said...

the solution seem to be not too complicated:

1) maid deserve 1 day off in order to follow the general employment guidline. BUT maid can choose to work and get extra pay.

2) the maid agent has responsibility to visit or interview the maid in regular basis and ensure no abused else polish report shld be made.

3) statistic show more run away cases than those small number of abused cases. That perhaps many are aware. BUT that has nothing to do with a day off and the threat from Indonesia government to stop sending their maid.

ScorpionStar said...

Every employee has the right for a day's off. PERIOD! It's basic human right.

Only, blodd-suckers will give a myriad of reason to deny this rights.

First of all, these maids are sacrificing a lot to clean your shit!

Some idiots are afraid that they might be involved with bad companies. What guarantee is there that they will be good if you deny them a day's off? They are grown-up and humans with feelings. They know what is good and bad. You can't restrict their choices.

You expect them to be like Kunta-kinte? Slaves forever?

Those who deny maids day off are selfish and greedy people. They want someone to care for their litters, make their home, clean their shit, cook them food, WHILE THEY WINE AND DINE AND GATHER WEALTH!

HOW SELFISH. If you can't obey human rights law don't be an employer!

l藍海 said...

你认为“国阵”执政,就不乱吗?
*奖学金
*大学录取率不透明
*教师录取率
*巴生港口
*执政机构-或涉及贪污舞弊
*国民服务
*收费站
*警察滥权
*内安法令
*惘顾人权
*没有提供完善的福利,基设和援助给与残障人士/单亲家庭/贫穷家庭。
*交通部执法不严,飚车族横行造祸人命;长途巴士/旅游巴士的行驶速度竟然比驾着110km/j的速度还要快、、、、、
*无数疏忽案件发生在医院、、、、
:)
多到记得起,写不完。

Datuk said...

Dear Datuk Seri,

The public is awating your public comments on PKFTZ scandal in view of your portfolio you were headed in MCA.

Don't disappointed the public,please!

Can you speak without fear and favor? or another below average useless politician in MCA?

Your choice.

Pearls said...

Actually I want to ask this question....

Does everyone including the maid, realise that going out means money?? Who is footing all the busfare, jalan jalan cari makan, bergembira-ria, etc? If the maid is footing these expenses, what is the maid left with at the end of the month?

Things are not cheap nowadays... going out just to jalan jalan is going to cost at the very least RM20 each time. Tak kan want to eat BUN and drink syrup only everytime she goes out!! So, work out the math, it will cost the maid RM80 per month at the very least and that is 15% of her salary. CAN THE MAID AFFORD SUCH LUXURY?

Let's all get real here la.. the maid will spend more than RM20 per week.. and at the end of the month, when it is gaji time, she will get the shock of her life! The lima will be empat or worse.. tiga!!

What if she cannot afford such luxury? Has anyone ever thought what are the other options a maid will take to make up for such "lost" of revenue?

In such situation, would it be surprising to say that maids will be tempted to vices especially when they have 1 day free to do as they please? The world oldest profession is one of the fastest and easiest(well, not really easiest la. it is hard work too) way to earn some extra bucks! Will the employer be prosecuted or penalised if the maid is found to be earning extra cash thru such means?

The law cannot say that the employers have to ensure their maids dont get into such vice when the employers are compiled by the same law to let the maid go out. Go out means free to do as they wish la... No ah? Wanna install some GPS microchip in her to track her like some rich man's chihuahua ah? Mad or what?

I wont even want to go near that topic of the whole chain reaction of contracting contagious diseases and all. Eeeyewwww!!

So, my advise to our government is this.. Dont always give us all these setengah masak rules la!! So hensem in suit and tie talk into plenty microphones and happy to be broadcast thru out the whole world announcing such monkey ruling!! Think things thru from ALL sides first before going ahead and gungho ridiculous laws on us la! The world is mad enough as it is.. please dont add on!!

Poo Ching Loong said...

Dr. Totally agree with you. Hishamuddin made a good statement too in newspaper two days ago. This will ensure, we, Malaysian get protection - if Indonesia not going to release the maid, lets find other sources. Human rights is not to abuse but respect.

指南山人 said...

是的, 或許平衡報導更是重要; 相關部門於制定相關法案或條例更應該從多方角度探討, 更應注意事項的深度與廣度.在招聘的條例上及仲介本身素貭是否有效管理. 我想人力資源部多花點心思如何有效與其他相關部門處理非法勞工的社會問題, 滯留勞工如何有效迁善等等會讓大家更開心.

Anonymous Says said...

What is so different between an Indon maid and a professional who comes here to work ? The difference is with education, the behavior is under control. But it is still the same thing. Outside working hours, the professional expat would do the things that the Indon maid will do. Dating if still single, drinking, having fun and the list goes on. If we are not going to control the professional expats with a leash, why should the Indon maids be leashed ? Why can't the Indon maids work seriously and when it is time to have fun, she will have fun without bringing any troubles ? Beside education, social background also plays a part. Why can't the Indon maids follow the laws and behave themselves ? The employer will have to look after her own children and the Indon maid. Isn't that a double jeopardy ? If you have to look after the Indon maid, then she is not reliable. If she is not reliable and she is not trusted, why give yourself the added burden ?

Tuanku said...

Hi Dr Chua,

Doc~! We totally agree with you. Hishamuddin dares to show his "MALAY KRIS" power and he made a good statement too in newspaper two days ago.

If Indonesia not going to release the maid, lets Malaysians find other sources from China, India, Indo China and Philippines are more educated maids available anytime. We, non-Malays are 80% majority of maid employers are affordable to employ non-Indon maids like Chinese and Indian maids.

Finally, we will read and listen Indonesian govt begging and knocking our doors for SOS to take their maids within a short period. It is just a short moment of "TARIK HARGA" from Indonesian govt to press Malaysians to give in their demands. NO WAY PAK !

YES, more Chinese sweet maids from mainland China will eventually cause more social cum family problems to MCA & Gerakan leaders to face the music from their lady bosses. A good reason for PAPA to persuade BN Fed Govt to approve the Chinese maids to serve them.
Eventually MCA and Gerakan will close their parties faster in next 13GE when majority chinese mummies and adult kids will vote against BN. They will vote DAP ladies like Jenice Lee, Teresa Kok, etc and reject MCA Yen Yen, Mee Fun etc.

Hahahahahahaha! - Do or Die Mission for MCA & BN on problem maids ? MALAYSIAN BOLEH !

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