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KUALA LUMPUR, July 3:

Wanita Umno has urged the Malaysian government to set a standardised rate for maids along with a one-stop centre to ease the procurement process for Malaysians.

Its chief, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said this was in light of the recent Finance Ministry’s Economic Report that revealed a decline in female labour force compared to the number of female graduates.

“Based on a workshop we had conducted in May and June, we urge the Malaysian government to set the standardised rate to recruit maids at RM5,000 by eliminating the need to rely on an agency.

“This would ease the burden of households,” Shahrizat said after presenting personal care products to 500 homeless persons at Bangunan Ehsan here today.

She said some householders had to pay RM14,000 to procure a maid, with most of the money being channelled to middlemen and agencies that monopolise the system.

“Householders also have to fork out money to get a replacement if their maid runs away.

“There should be a damage fee instead which the agency should pay to the householders,” the former Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament said.

Shahrizat also urged the government to come up with stricter laws and policies to ensure that only quality and committed maids are hired, with legal action taken against agencies if they provide less than satisfactory housemaids.

“There should also be a one-stop centre which plays a neutral role by working closely with the Health Ministry, the Immigration Department, the relevant government and maid agencies, such as the Malaysian Maid Employers Association and Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies.

“The centre would act as a platform to coordinate all relevant matters pertaining to procuring housemaids,” Shahrizat said, adding that a memorandum had been handed to the Human Resources Ministry earlier today.

Malaysia recorded a 49.5% decline in female labour force compared with the number of female graduates, the lowest among Southeast Asian countries, according to the report.

This led Wanita Umno to hold a Foreign Maid Recruitment and Implementation workshop on May 22 and June 19 to gain feedback from 150 representatives involving government agencies, maid agencies, non-governmental organisations and academicians.

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