Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Public Urged to Lodge Complaints Against Overcharging Maid Agencies

PUTRAJAYA: Lodge complaints with the Immigration Department if maid agencies continue to charge the old and expensive rates for supplying Indonesians domestic help.

“We will investigate and act against the maid agencies involved, including revoking their operating licence,” Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said.

He said the ministry had received a flood of complaints that agencies here were charging three times more than the allowed RM2,415 for Indonesian domestic help.

Many had complained of being charged more than RM6,000 for a maid.

He said some employers claimed that the agencies charged RM2,400 for miscellaneous fees such as levy, medical check-up and local agency fee, and a further RM1,400 as fee for the Indonesian agency.

On top of this, they would also have to pay RM2,450 described as the “maid’s loan from the Indonesian agency". "By right, maid agencies should have stopped charging the old fee following the introduction of the new guideline,” Tan told reporters after the National Registration Department monthly gathering here Tuesday.

“The minister (Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad) has already made an announcement and every agency should comply with it because the new rate was decided after much discussion with the Indonesian authorities.

“If they don’t, their operating licences can be revoked. We will call for a dialogue session with the maid agencies as soon as possible to ask why they have not been following it.”

Those wanting to complain, added Tan, must produce evidence, such as receipts, they were charged the old fees.

The ruling to cap the fees came about after Radzi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta.

Among other things, the MoU stated that maids would have to pay their agents around RM1,300 to come here, , which employers might be expected to pay in advance and then have this sum deduct from the maids’ monthly wages.

On the Filipino government setting a minimum monthly salary of RM1,430 starting Friday for their maids, Tan said at present, most household help were from Indonesia.

Asked if the Government planned to negotiate with the Filipino government for a lower monthly salary, he said the ministry “had a few proposals” in mind but declined to elaborate.

Source : STAR
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