Some 480,000 illegals working as maids in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The number of registered foreign maids in the country stands at 240,000 but the number of illegals who work as maids is believed to be double that, or close to half a million.
The sheer number of illegal maids has given rise to the issue of harbouring, as many of them are believed to be live-in maids, which makes it difficult for the authorities to take action.
Asked about the influx of the illegal maids, Malaysian Maid Employers’ Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said employers should not employ the illegals as it was against the law.
However, many have no choice as there is no alternative.
Engku Ahmad said employers should be patient as issues surrounding the availability of foreign maids, especially those from Indonesia, were being resolved, and the memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia had been signed although there were still certain grey areas which needed to be amended.
On the raids to flush out illegal foreign workers conducted under the 6P Amnesty programme last week, he said the association did not condone the employment of illegals as maids.
“We stand by the 6P programme to achieve the zero-illegals target but the untimely raids have resulted in more problems for those in need of workers,” he said.
Engku Ahmad said Malaysians were being deprived as there was an insufficient supply of maids now. He said the authorities should have opened the doors for maids to come in before conducting the raids.
Said Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo: “There is an undetermined number of illegals here and it’s not possible to classify all illegals as maids.”
He agreed that there were many families who harboured illegals and used them as maids.
“We urge employers to be responsible and not flout the law. I hope they will be patient. We know the lack of supply has caused hardship.”
Asked about the impact on employers caused by the crackdown against illegal immigrants under the 6P amnesty programme, he said: “We have to abide by the law. Sadly, the after-effects of the raids have caused problems.”
Foo said the agents involved should be professional, as there had been many complaints of them dealing in run-away maids who were also illegals.