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Free market for domestic help in East M'sia

Publication Date : 26-12-2013


Employers in Sabah, East Malaysia, prefer to hire Indonesian or Filipina maids directly after they arrive in the state instead of relying on employment agencies.

This practice has been found to be cheaper for employers, who pay up to 2,000 ringgit (US$606.80) to get work passes for the maids, rather than the nearly 6,000 ringgit it would cost them through agencies.

As they are rarely approached, nearly all the agencies have stopped offering their services to Sabah employers since 2009, especially after the Indonesian government set many hiring conditions.

When Indonesia lifted the ban on its maids coming to Malaysia in 2012, it imposed several conditions, including the prohibiting of multi-tasking, such as caring for the elderly and young children while doing household chores.

Employers who recruited maids on their own are said to pay them wages of between 400 ringgit and 700 ringgit.

“It has been a free market for maids in Sabah,’’ an agent said.

He said the Filipina and Indonesian maids who entered Sabah on visitor passes could convert these to work permits.

However, the maids are now required to return to their country before the work permit could be approved.

“This direct method would not be approved by the Indonesian or Philippine government,’’ he said.

*US$1 = 3.30 ringgit


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