KUALA LUMPUR: An estimated 30,000 local employers have been facing difficulties in obtaining the services of foreign domestic maids since last year, following the closure of the country’s borders due to Covid-19, says Malaysian Association of Employment Agencies (PAPA) president Datuk Foo Yong Hooi.

He said the situation would become even more difficult if negotiations on the recruitment of Indonesian domestic maids to Malaysia through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) scheduled for tomorrow were postponed.

“Around 600 maid agencies under category B and C licenses want to hire foreign domestic maids to work in Malaysia, where there are at least 50 requests on the waiting list for each agency.

“This is quite a high demand, because, at a time when the country is in the midst of the National Recovery Plan, people have started returning to work, so how do they take care of the elderly and children whom they had previously (during the lockdown period) taken care of on their own,“ he told Bernama.

In fact, he said, there were families who faced difficulties in monitoring their children who were undergoing the Home Teaching and Learning (PdPR) process, after their schools were closed due to Covid-19 outbreaks.

Foo said if the issue of hiring domestic maids could not be resolved immediately, it would affect the productivity of workers in the country, and in turn affect economic recovery efforts at this time.

Therefore, he hoped that the government would immediately conclude the MoU with Indonesia, as well allow workers from other countries such as the Philippines to meet the needs of employers at this time.

Yesterday, local newspapers quoted Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan as saying that several issues had cropped up that led to the delay in signing the MoU for the recruitment of domestic maids from Indonesia.

“We (Malaysia) have resolved the issue of bringing in foreign workers from Bangladesh, but on the issue of Indonesian domestic maids, there are some constraints in Jakarta. The MoU which was supposed to take place on Feb 8 may also be delayed due to issues that have arisen,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Maid Employers Association (MAMA) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein hoped the delay would not be prolonged, as it could lead to local employers employing foreign workers as domestic maids illegally.

He said the situation would only increase the safety risk of the people, especially the elderly and children.

Meanwhile, to encourage local workers to work in the sector, Engku Ahmad Fauzi suggested that the government should allow the employment of maids on a daily basis which is more practical, besides giving privacy to the workers.

“The employer would only have to pay according to the number of days worked. There are already some who are currently practising this hiring method, but it is not official, so the authorities need to find ideas on how to attract locals to work in this sector,” he said.-Bernama

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