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Stop deceiving and exploiting employers and domestic workers

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There is now a proposal to raise the Malaysian agents’ fees for domestic workers to RM8,000. These agents only provide data to the end-users and do not deserve such a huge profit margin from their exorbitant charges. The official cost of hiring is only RM2,180 per maid while gross profit distributed among the human supply chains and (other unexplained charges) is RM5,820 per person, points out the Jakarta-based group Migrant Care.

We refer to the maid agency fee hike proposal to RM8,000 per Indonesian maid placement by the President of Persatuan Pekerja Asing on 24 June 2008.

The PAPA President has deceived the Malaysia public by comparing the maid salary in Hong Kong and Taiwan because all the maids that work in these two countries have to go through intensive training and are well prepared to carry out their household choress. It is wrong to compare apples and oranges!

Maids heading to Malaysia are not properly trained; they are traded like human commodities among the Indonesian agents and Malaysian agents; the concept of market demand and supply often prevails in the PAPA president’s media statement.

On a related issue,the Malaysian ambassador, Zainal Abidin Zain, has issued a press statement supporting such a proposal in view of the increase in the recruitment cost and levy, which costs more than RM3,700.

The ambassador’s media statement that hiring direct from Indonesia is an act of human trafficking is grossly misleading. It has the ill intention of denying the right of employers to employ the right workers while denying the workers from securing the best deals.

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Human trafficking involves the motive of exploitation and profiteering from victims. Only Malaysian agents fit this description arising from the exorbitant fees imposed while suppressing the salary of the maids.

It is time for the Malaysian Foreign Ministry to seriously investigate the possible involvement of our foreign missions in organised human trafficking via workers agents. The Ambassador may have been confused about the matter of human trafficking and grossly ignored the pleas of Malaysian women illegally trafficked and stranded in Indonesia

We at Migrant Care, Jakarta wish to inform the Malaysia employers and public that:

  • PAPA’s proposal to increase the maid agency fees to RM8,000 is grossly unfounded and highly exploitative and unfair to potential employers.
  • The official costs involved in the recruitment of Indonesian maids is as follows:

Butir- Butir

Kos RM



Pemeriksaan Kesihatan


Kos Latihan 4 -6 minggu


Tenpat Tinggal dan makan waktu Latihan


Hantar jemput fdari Kampung


Tiket Pesawat ke Malaysia


Keuntungan Agen Indonesia


Kos Sponsor






Jumlah yang diabayar Majikan


Keuntungan yang di ambil Agen Malaysia


  •  The exorbitant charges imposed by Malaysian agents who only provide data to the end-users do not deserve such a huge profit margin; the official cost of hiring is only RM2,180 per maid while gross profit distributed among the human supply chains and (other unexplained charges) is RM5,820 per person.
  • The maid salary has been stagnant at RM450 to RM 500 per month since 2005 but the agency fees have increased from RM3,500 to RM6,000. It is rational to asked why a higher amount is paid to the human bio-data traders while the workers are still grossly underpaid, earning far below the poverty line income of RM800 per month.
  • Rational employers should prefer to pay a higher salary to well trained maids rather than those recruited from very remote villages and not properly trained. Its timely to ask ourselves if it is fairer to pay 15 months of the salary to the agents who sell bio-data or to increase the maids’ salary to attract better-trained maids?
  • The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Agency should probe the huge hidden cost in the process of hiring Indonesian maids (including looking into the role of the) Malaysia Embassy in Jakarta and the Malaysia Immigration department, who are largely responsible for the intake of foreign workers from Indonesia.
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Indepth study of South-East Asia migration history has proven that the biggest organised human trafficking syndicates are the licensed and legalised employment agents in Indonesia and Malaysia

Jakarta, 26 June 2008

Anis Hidayah, Executive Director +6281578722874
Wahyu Susilo, Policy analyst +628129307964
Alex Ong, Malaysia representative +60163121201

Migrant Care 

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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