Be creative when hiring local domestic helpers

Employers must consider raising wages although there is no minimum salary in the FDH sector

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by TMR FILE

AS DOMESTIC helpers are in high demand among many Malaysian households, the government must formulate a solution to replace foreign help with locals.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said the association has always prioritised the local workforce.

“Until when do we want to be over-dependent on foreign helpers? We need training institutions to certify the local workforce, which means that they are trained properly and given more acceptable titles rather than ‘maids’.

“Locals want incentives, so the government must be more creative in training them as domestic helpers,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

Following the decision by the Cabinet to allow foreign workers in only three sectors namely construction, plantation and agriculture, other sectors are only allowed to employ local workers.

Commenting on the move, Engku Ahmad Fauzi said technically, foreign domestic helpers (FDH) are not categorised under Foreign Workers.

“Although the government had never disallowed Malaysian households to hire FDH, it now cannot be done through agents.

“Employers have to search for foreign helpers on their own. So, agencies whose business is to hire foreign helpers will feel the pinch or even close shop,” he said.

He suggested that when hiring locals, employers must consider raising wages although there is no minimum salary in the FDH sector.

“When employing locals, maybe we can pay more according to the cost of living, but we must also look at their skill sets. There must be a give and take.

“Also, there are no visa or work permit issues. The cost is only their wages,” he said.

Engku Ahmad Fauzi recommended two options when hiring local helpers — to either let them live in the same household, or they can go home when the work is done.

He added that the government can refer to the home manager programme by the Terengganu Family Development Foundation as an example.

The programme encourages local participation and offers Employees Provident Fund deductions, as well as Social Security Organisation contributions.