The plight Indonesian overseas maids

indonesian-maidsI wrote recently about foreign English teachers being underpaid in Indonesia, but then I saw an article in a free magazine for expats living in Malaysia, on finding an overseas maid.

The article gives two options for employing help from overseas.

An Indonesian maid will cost:

– 450RM a month (around US$125 a month)
– work seven days a week
– and salary is banked into the maid’s bank account at the end of every month, as she is not able to ‘carry cash for the first two years working in Malaysia’.

A Filipina maid costs:

– 1430RM a month (nearly US$400 a month)
– works six days a week
– there are no restrictions on her being able to carry cash

I have been to the Philippines and Indonesia this year and both countries are just as poor. I am not sure why Indonesian maids are paid so little. The only thing I can think of is that most Filipinas can speak good English. It also seems very unfair that they can’t carry cash for the first two years?

They are also sometimes treated badly by their employers. I have read at least one article in a Malaysian newspaper since I have been here about a man beating his Indonesian maid.

When I was checking for the location of the Indonesian consulate in Penang I also came across this article on their website:

Problems that Indonesia and Malaysia are facing now Manpower matters. It is important to employ them with respect of their basic rights as a human. Yes, maid is human too like us. Just because they are Indonesian and they are maid, doesn’t mean we are allowed treating them unhumanly.

Everyday, our consulate receive 3-5 escaped maid in conflict with their employer or agency. Their cases are : insane, raped, abuse, sexual harassment, working more than 1 employer, working overtime, working beside their duty as maid (working in farmer, employers factory, employer beauty center, employer store) and none of the being paid.

Maid’s duties are : house cleaning, ironing, washing, cooking, looking after the children and that is all. Maid’s duty is restricted only in the house of employer whose name stated in their permit from 08.00-18.00. Relations between employer and maid should be an industrial relationship. There must be an understanding and respect for each other’s right.

What should I do to prevent my maid runaway?

Maid is human too, and as human their rights is not only protected by Universal Declaration of human rights, and Malaysia respective laws and regulations. We believe that many criminal cases whose victims are Indonesian maid have been brought to Justice. So, do not abuse your maid, rape, sexual harassed, do not order your maid to work overtime. Create a conditions that encourage them to dedicate their work.

Maid is human, they make mistake too. This is your responsibility to teach maid to work like you wish.

Stop holding maids passport

Holding maids passport is not appropriate. At the back of the passport there is rule that the bearer is the one that has to keep the passport, not the employer, not the president not even our consul general. Only the bearer whose name appears on the passport can keep his/ her passport. If employer doesn’t want his maid to escape, then treat them humanly, give them incentives, fulfill their right, pay their salary. Very easy right?

Make your maid a bank account,

Employer must be a busy person. That’s why we recommend you to make your maid a bank account. Our consulate receive some maids whose employers reluctant to pay their salary, because their employer forgot to pay maids salary since many years ago! Making a bank account for maid is not only to help employer in fulfilling their obligations but also to keep the maid from runaway. It is not Hold the bank account, not the passport. Nowadays, maids salary is from RM 500/ monthly.


  1. Canada provinces Said,

    September 9, 2009 @ 5:29 am

    Having lived my life in Brunei and Bangladesh, I noticed that the local Islamic law applies to overseas Muslim as well.

  2. Samantha Said,

    January 7, 2010 @ 6:22 am

    That’s not true, my maid was not abused or anything else, she ran away because she want to go back to indonesia, she has been telling me that she misses her children and family badly…she know very well that if she goes back to the agent she will not be able to go back to indonesia so she went to the police and asked the police to send her to the consulate so she could be deported back to indonesia and because she left after the guarantee period, after 6 months, i have no replacement…the agent just wash their hands clean and said there’s nothing they can do…

  3. walter Said,

    April 28, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    I have bben working long time in Asia, Hong-Kong, Macau ,Singapore and so on,
    and i have talked with many Maids , from Indonesia and from the philippines, very few of this Maids are treaded as Human, most of them leave a bad life with there employer, and lots of them are forced to work 18 to 20 hours and sometimes even more. , and as a thank you the recieve shit food , and a place to sleep i would not even but my dog to sleep there.
    and the main reason why employers , i call them slavetraders and maybe even worst ,because of the criminal agenencys.
    the philippino maids na bit better off because the embassy,s take besser care for them, but the indonesian embassies dont care , this would be work. special in Hong-kong it is very bad , and nobody cares the chinese ,not all of them but a lot are just shit who miss use this maids and handle them like a piece of garbadge.

    it would be more than on the time to but this criminals who misshandle this poor girls like gabadge to be but in jail and for a long time ore force them to have the same life and let them work for 6 months under the same contitions as the but on this poor womens.

  4. walter Said,

    April 29, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    i have had a very good contact to my former helper , who used to work for me part time , in macau and we become friends, after i left she lost here main job in macau and decidet to go to Hong-kong .
    i advised here not to go to Hong-Kong because of the bade name hong-kong has among maids who went true hell with there mainly Chinese slave traders.
    we however still where sometimes in contact even the familie she used to work , did not alow here to use here mobile phone, she always had to hide the phone and she send me sms from time to time , here salary was instead of the 4000 HK $ the promissed only 1800 because the also charged here for the what the called food, my dog propaly would not have eaten dies gabadge. she had to take care for the two old sick parents of the employer , cook for all of them , at the evening work at the small shop from the employer and at 12 midnigth she was brougth home where she then could sleep in the kitchen on the floor on a bamboo matt, and at 4 am she need to get up again, we always had contact and i even informed the indonesian Embassy in Hong-Kong about this but she dont want to leave because she needet the money for here child at home in indonesia. one the last contacts we had, she told she is sick and very weak , but she has no time and money to go to a doctor , and suddently i dont get any answer anymore from here, maybe to take here mobile phone , ore maybe she died , ore i would say the worked here to death.. her name is sophia here email used to be i believe what she told me because i did know here very well and she never lyed to me. i hope she is well and just lost the phone ore phone number

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