THE Labour Department must insist employment agents physically bring in domestic helpers to the country so that potential employers can interview before hiring them.
Recently, I was in Singapore and found out that the city-state practises this.
In Brunei, I was shown a list of photos and biodata to choose from. When the chosen amah arrived, she looked definitely older than what her passport suggested and she was not familiar with modern electrical appliances like washing machine, iron, oven etc.
We sympathise with her as she needs money to support her family back home, so we have retained her though the quality of her work is not up to the standard we had expected.
The agents must be responsible to train these domestic helpers. When we complained to the agent why our amah was not familiar with electrical appliances the agent said, “Atu pandai biskita tah mengajar nya! (You teach them to handle the appliances). The agents must also train them on personal hygiene, especially in handling food.
The fees charged by these agents must be controlled by the Labour Department based on their (amahs) skills and experience. The fees are to excessive.
I found out from our amah and immigration chops in her passport, she was brought in through Kalimantan and Sarawak, which means less expenses for the agent, but I was charged as if she arrived here directly from Jakarta by plane.
I felt cheated when I was asked to pay six months of the amah’s wages in advance to be paid to her agent back home even before the amah’s first day of work with us.
Nowhere in the world I will be paid six months of my salary in advance by my company before the contract is signed. How lucky our amah is! If she runs away in a month or two (we hope she will not), how can we get back our money? I hope the Labour Department will look into this.
I hope the Labour Department will resolve all complaints from us employers. The deparment must act against some bad apples among the employment agents. Not all are bad, some agents are good. Make it more stringent to be agents and make sure employers cheated either by the agents or runaway amahs must be paid back from the agent’s deposit held by the government.
Increase the deposit amount agencies have to pay to get themselves registered with the Labour Department, or let us recruit amahs ourselves as in the past.
– Anti Dibuyok