Monday, 19 March 2012

Reduce our dependence on foreign labour

“It is just crazy,” cried fellow Malaysians when asked about the “one maid, one task and be paid RM 700 per month” ruling by Indonesian officials. The reactions and chain reactions were equally crazy and show how vulnerable and addictive we are to foreign labors.

We are too relying on foreign labors be it maids, store helpers, construction workers, factory workers, cooks, temple helpers and many more. Well, if Indonesia can have this ruling about maids today, I am sure they can have similar rulings on their other “expatriates” here in other industries. Not to discount that other country might do the same to us. Today it can be Indonesia; tomorrow it can be Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines or others.
With all these going on, shouldn’t we think of reducing our dependences on foreign labors? Forget about substitutes from other countries as suggested by some quarters. Forget about negotiating with Indonesia that does not respect prior agreements. As I said, today it may be them, tomorrow it may be others. Why waste our resources on this?

I also believe that Indonesia can do this to us is because they know how dependence we are on their people. So they can “tarik harga” a lot. What I know is only the Indonesian authority is into this because my maid that comes twice a week told me that many of her fellow workers can’t wait to be in Malaysia. They can’t be here due to problems created to them by their own government.

If we were to calculate the costs of hiring one maid at home, it is almost the same as hiring a domestic helper. Perhaps the Ministry of Human Resources can help to train Malaysians who are interested to be a domestic helper and then help them to find a job. Or maid employment agencies should think of marketing domestic helper instead of foreign ones.

Moreover, this can help to reduce the outflow of our currencies to other others. Do not under estimate the total amount that our foreign labors sent back to their respective countries. Besides that, it can also help to reduce unemployment and also help to increase household income in Malaysia.

However, to make this work, we have to take away the mentality that Malays can’t hire Chinese because they ate pork or Chinese can’t hire Malays because they think that Malays are lazy. Or other races do not want to hire Indians because they are well known to take days off. We have to take all these racial tags away. Who knows this can be the best way to foster a stronger ties between different races in Malaysia.

If I have a choice of Malaysians doing my household chores, I would sure hire one instead of a foreign one.

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