Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Maid Issues; In Malaysiakini

my writing appear in Malaysiakini today.
I might as well cut and paste other people's writing on the same issues

Move towards being a 'maid-less' society
Noor Hamzah
Jun 30, 09
We should do away with 'maids', either foreign or local. All these years living in the West, I hardly encounter any Western family who employs maids in their households.

I have seen advertisements for 'home helpers', a few hours a week worth of work, to take care of kids after school, or another few hours a week to help with household chores, but not full-time maids. In fact, you can hire 'home helper' on a regular basis, but they are not called maids.

At the government level, we should legislate that anyone who works, either in domestic or commercial premises, should be compensated accordingly and be accorded rights under the law, ie, they should get at least minimum wage as well as Sosco and EPF contributions.

A worker is a worker whether local or foreign and they should get the same rights and benefits.
Yes, we know that Malaysia doesn't have any minimum wage law, but it's never too late to act now and legislate a minimum wage law now.

Enterprising Malaysians might set up 'Early Childhood Education Centres' in housing areas and villages, and charge parents by the hour. So parents can leave their young children at these centers before going to work, and pick up their children after work. In fact there are already businesses of this nature in the country.

High income parents might not have problem sending their children to Early Childhood centres, but low-income families might not be able to afford it.

Therefore, the government should subsidise low-income families so that they may be able to send their children to these centers, even for limited number of hours/days. Some households or parents should be encouraged to run this business, taking in children from the neighbourhood.
'More money that the government will have to pay out' you might say, but the cost-saving by not importing foreign maids would be in the hundreds of millions. Furthermore, we would be employing locals and reducing unemployment.

For those who can afford to employ 'home helpers', they must pay at least minimum wage as well as other obligations like workers' insurance, Soco and EPF contributions.

It is more desirable that in a two-parent (husband and wife) family with young children, one of them stay home to raise the family. The government should encourage this by giving better tax breaks and subsidies, so that they don't end up living in poverty.

My maid doesn't want a weekly day off
Dr MA Nair
Jun 30, 09
Indonesia's decision to 'hold-on' to the sending of maids to Malaysia must be a knee-jerk reaction. Indonesia should not come up with a blanket ruling to ban maids from working in Malaysia just because of some isolated cases of abuse by some Malaysian employers.

Not all maids are abused and ill-treated and not all employers are mean in this country. Let's be more pragmatic about the whole issue.

The ideal way to resolve this problem is for the Malaysian authority to come up with a proper and periodical 'check-on-maids' procedure to protect maids from being abused.

The government can come up with a rule on this and try to convince the Indonesian government that 'we are serious' when it comes to maid abuse in the country. Malaysians do not condone maid abuse and this is our stand. Our culture abhors this despicable and inhuman act.

And to those who employ maids, please be generous, gentle and kind to them. I have this to share with you all.

Why should we ill-treat our maids? Is it necessary that maids are given a day off each week? These are the two issues being hotly discussed by many interested parties in the country.

Essentially, a maid is as human as anyone else. A maid should be treated with respect. If you are kind to her she will, in turn, be kind to you. But then, some would say that there are bad apples among them. But then, there are also bad apples among the employers.

If a maid cannot perform her duty to the employer's expectation, a respectful way of rejecting her is by sending her back to the agency, or courteously making them return to their home country. Torturing her is shameful and dishonourable.

These maids are poor women who have to come to this country to seek a decent living. It is poverty that has driven them to this country. Some have left their children and loved ones to come here to earn a living. They hence deserve to be treated sensibly.

Of course, employers cannot expect faultlessness in them. As employers, we need to bear with their inadequacies and inexperience and learn to be tolerant with them. With time, they would be able to adjust and adapt to our expectations. If still they fail you, send them back gracefully.

As for a day off each week, it all depends on the maid. When I mentioned this matter to my maid, she responded politely, 'Tak perlu Pak. Nanti bikin susah semua orang.'

I understand why she responded this way. She has been with us for the past 15 years. She would only go out of the house with us or with our children. She has demanded nothing from us more than what we pay her. Neither do we pay her a fortune.

She is not bothered about that and had never asked for a salary rise since. The reason is, she finds it happy to stay with us and that matters most to her. Her secret desire in life is to perform the Haj one day. We have decided to help her fulfil this wish.

What's more, we have treated her just like one of us. We have taken her as part of our family. Our children are more attached to her as she spends all her time with them when we are busy with our jobs. We eat whatever she cooks. We often seek her opinions on matters that we find difficult to resolve as parents.

On her part, she is willing to learn anything she can to please our family. My children have officially included her as part of the family in all the forms they fill up in when at school. When we are away or outstation, she takes charge of the house and the children.

She has lived with us with a lot of trust built in. This attachment has made us feel that she is indeed a faithful human and is essentially part of our family unit.

We are not saying that all maids are the same. We consider it very lucky to have a maid who has stayed with us this long. On our part, it all boils down to how we treat her. We treat her well and she has treated us well in return.

This formula has worked for us and we are happy about it. We also hope that this formula will work for others. So when we offered her a day off each week, she does not want it. Thus, let it be the way she decides. This makes us a lot happier.

Maids need time away from their employers too
Dennis Madden
Jun 29, 09
I refer to the comment in the Malaysiakini report Jail those who break their quarantines.

The writer wrote: 'My current maid has a scheduled rest day on Sundays. She goes to church with us in the morning where she socialises with her friends; she joins us at a local mall for lunch and some window shopping.

'In the afternoon, she rests in her room - no need to take care of kids or clean the house. I have let her go out with friends on certain public holidays, dropping her off and picking her up as well as giving her pocket money.

'We treat her as one of the family and provide her everything she needs, often at no expense to her at all.

'I believe I'm a fair and considerate employer, and I think this arrangement, built on mutual respect and trust, has worked out well for both parties.'

And I say, 'Oh what hypocrisy, oh, what a devilish attitude you have towards other human beings.

You don't say how old is your maid is but it seems like you are treating her like a 13-year-old.

So you take her to church with you, do you? How generous of you. Does she get to choose whether she wants to go to church with you?

And then you allow her to go window-shopping and lunch with you at the local mall. No doubt you take your children along with you to and expect you maid to deal with any problems that arise.

'In the afternoon she rests in her room'. Where she is still potentially under your thumb. Has it ever occurred to you that after living 24 hours a day, seven days a week with you, she might actually want some time for herself?

'I have to let her go out with friends on certain holidays...dropping her off and picking her up and giving her pocket money'. So generous...and how controlling

And then we come to the final insult and the oh-so-Malaysian touch... money
'We treat her as one of the family and provide her everything she needs, often at no expense to her at all.

Malaysians have become 'unabashed hypocrites'
CH Ong
Jun 26, 09
I refer to the Malaysiakini report Shocking! Maids are humans too.

A few examples from a long list to show that Malaysians have become big, ugly and unabashed hypocrites:

1. Many Malaysians love to buy and own residential properties on hill slopes and hill tops.

After they have moved into their hill slope and hill top homes, they demand that the owners of the remaining undeveloped private land should not be allowed to develop the hill slope and hill top land.

They conveniently forget that their own homes are sitting on hill slopes and hill tops.

2. Many Malaysians, after buying and moving into their new homes which are built on de-gazetted forest reserves, demand that the remaining forest reserves must remain permanently as forest reserves and must not be developed.

An example - owners of homes in the part of Kota Damansara adjacent to the remaining forest reserve.

They conveniently forget that their own homes were built on forest reserve land which was recently de-gazetted so that their homes could be built.

3. Malaysians love a 'pasar malam', provided that the 'pasar malam' is not near their own homes.

The fact that the 'pasar malam' is right outside other people's homes and causing an extreme inconvenience to the affected owners is irrelevant.

4. And now, a local newspaper has just conducted a survey and discovers that more than 75% of Malaysians disagree with giving their maids a weekly day off.

I am not surprised.

If the newspaper had extended the survey and asked the same respondents (excluding those who are self-employed) whether they agree to working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for their employers, how do you think they will respond?

Sorry, no prizes for the correct answer.

1 comment:

Poliklinik Salehudin said...

i think polygamy can solve the issue of maid necessity.