Malaysian employers eager to hire Indonesian domestic workers again, but fees remain a concern
STREAMLINED HIRING PROCESS, MORE PROTECTION FOR MAIDS
One of the key stipulations of the MoU is the use of a single channel or “one channel system” for the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic helpers.
Mr KT Tan, who runs an employment agency, said that before the hiring freeze and border closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, the government had put in place an application system ” System Maid Online” (SMO).
The SMO, which was introduced in 2018, allowed employers to directly hire domestic helpers, who could enter Malaysia on a tourist visa and then have their domestic helper status regularized by the employer.
“This process also allowed employers to negotiate directly with Indonesian recruiters, but not everyone could do that because you had to have contact with Indonesian recruiters on the other side.
“In addition, you also had to do the registration process and the medical visits of the assistant yourself,” he explained.
However, Mr. Tan said, the Indonesian government had insisted on the one-channel hiring to ensure better monitoring and protection of its nationals, hence the introduction of the “one-channel system”.
The new MoU also provides a number of protections, ranging from a minimum basic salary of RM1,500 (US$355) per month for domestic help to eight days annual leave per year for the duration of a two-year contract.
In addition, a “one helper per household” rule will now apply to avoid overwork, as there have been cases of employers shuttling their domestic workers between two or even more households to maximize their use of the hand. -work.
Mr. Saravanan, the Malaysian minister, also announced that the cost structure for hiring Indonesian assistants would be reviewed every three months.
He was quoted by the state news agency Bernama as saying that this quarterly review was aimed at ensuring that the cost structure was in line with current needs. The fee would also take into account changes in transportation and health testing costs.
Mr Nazrul Musa, who was looking for a new housekeeper after returning from his last hire in Indonesia earlier this year, expressed relief that more concrete protections had been built into the memorandum of understanding.
“I think that’s fair. Household chores are no joke because there are always so many things to do at home and it becomes very taxing.
“My wife and I fully understand what our domestic workers have been through,” said the 41-year-old self-employed father of three.