M'sian association seeks extension of maid 'warranty'

Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - The Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) has suggested that the government extend the "warranty" period for foreign maids from three to six months.

Its vice-president Foo Yong Hooi, however, said the matter could only be implemented if the agencies and supplier agreed to the proposal.

Under currrent rules, an employer is eligible for a replacement if a maid runs away within three months.

Foo was commenting on the latest case of a foreign maid who had run away just after three months.

This caused the employer, Dr Ong Beng Tuck to lose both 9,200 ringgit (US$2,911) in hiring fees and advance salary and his 750 ringgit bond.

Since his Filipino maid ran away after the three-month warranty period had expired, he would not get a replacement maid.

Dr Ong brought his case to the attention of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Public Services and Complaints Department yesterday.

Department head Michael Chong said many illegal domestic helper agencies would wait until the three months are up before persuading foreign maids to run away.

He said the same maid would then be sent to another family.

"As at June, we have already received nine cases of maids running away.

"I believe they ran away due to several reasons, including being influenced by their partner while some were badly treated by employers," he said.

Relating his experience, Dr Ong said his maid ran off during a shopping trip to a mall on Sunday.

"She told us she needed to go to the toilet but never returned.

"We were worried and waited for several hours but could not find her anywhere inside the mall.

"She also did not answer our calls," he said adding that a police report was lodged on the same day.

Dr Ong said he received an SMS the next day from the maid apologising and thanking him for taking care of her during her short stay.

"When we checked the CCTV recordings in our house, we found out that she had earlier stolen her passport which was kept inside a cupboard," he said.

He described his family's relationship with the Filipina domestic helper as "very close".

"We were even planning to take her for a family vacation to Singapore next month," he said.

(1 ringgit = $0.32)

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