17 June 2009
Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun on the Human Resources Ministry announcement of mandatory off day for maids
At no time whatsoever has Wanita MCA ever and will never condone maid abuse by irresponsible employers. Hence, our wing had proposed for the enactment of laws which will protect both maid while maintaining the performance of maids and quality of service rendered by foreign maid agencies as expected from employers.
Wanita MCA calls on the Human Resource Ministry to remedy the issue of the plight of employers where measures must simultaneously be taken to safeguard their welfare too when incorporating the provision to look after the welfare of maids.
Wanita MCA recognizes that maid abuse involves only a small section of employers. Nevertheless, we do not condone any form of abuse and hence support the incorporation of new provisions making it mandatory for maids to be given one day off a week as they are intended to enhance the welfare of maids given that the proposals were raised for the benefit of maids.
Meanwhile the new provision does not address the problems encountered by employers in different scenarios where the maid and/or maid agency has performed below expectation. It is the view of Wanita MCA view that any introduction of new laws and regulations must protect and be fair to both parties – maids and employers.
Wanita MCA is aware of the problems encountered by employers, for example in instances of runaway foreign maids, thus rendering the employers having to fork out fines which run up to the hundreds to the Immigration Department besides losing over RM5,000 paid in agency fees to procure the services of the maid.
There must be laws to protect employers against unscrupulous maid agencies who collude with maids to abscond after the trial period finishes, only to be “recycled” and resurface in the house of another employer.
If the Employment Act will include provision for the welfare of foreign maids, a same provision must also be inserted into the said Act or incorporated in other laws to protect the rights of employers. For example, if the foreign maid fails to perform to expectation, or carries health diseases, brings in outsiders to the homes without the employer’s knowledge/permission, commits theft, and others, the employer must be allowed to exchange the maid for a new one without penalty charges even after the standard trial period of 6 months have been completed.
There must also be adequate laws to not only prosecute foreign maids but also hold the maid agencies accountable when foreign maids assault their charges in their care i.e. children, senior citizens in addition to cases mentioned above.
Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry must also ensure that foreign maid agencies play their part in giving training to the maids, not only in terms of taking care of charges and using household equipment properly but also understanding Malaysian customs, norms and practices.