Fewer Indonesians becoming maids as pay at home rises
As their economic lot at home improves, more Indonesians are heeding the government's call to steer clear of working in the foreign maid trade.
In 2010, some 451,000 Indonesians left home to be domestic workers abroad. Last year, only around 238,000 did so.
The government wants to end all Indonesians going abroad as maids by 2017 - a goal many feel is unrealistic.
But rising minimum wages back home and tougher competence standards have reduced the number of people leaving their families to take up menial jobs far from home.
Now and then: Cash matters
THE changing numbers at a glance:
RM300 million: Yearly turnover of Malaysia's domestic helper industry before Indonesia's June 2009 moratorium
RM160 million (S$62 million): Yearly value today
90: Percentage of Indonesian domestic workers hired to work in Malaysia before Indonesia's 2009 moratorium
10: Percentage of Indonesian domestic workers hired yearlytoday
380: Number of maid agencies in the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maids Agencies before the moratorium
Fewer than 200: Number of agencies active now
RM3,000 to RM5,000: Cost of recruiting a maid before the moratorium
RM8,000 to RM10,000: Cost of recruiting one now
245: Number of childcare centres in 2008
2,045: Number of childcare centres last year
How wages compare:
RM700: Average monthly wages for an Indonesian domestic worker in Malaysia
RM1,200 (S$464): Wages in Singapore
RM2,292: Wages in Hong Kong and Taiwan
Sources: Malaysian Association of Foreign Maids Agencies, Malaysia National Association of Employment Agencies
AIMING FOR QUALITY JOBS
The decline in the number of maids going overseas reflects our current policy, that is to encourage overseas Indonesians to take formal jobs. We prefer seeing quality over quantity.
- Ms Reyna Usman of the manpower and transmigration ministry