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Improve treatment of domestic helpers to resolve shortage

The Malaysian Reserve, Malaysia, 25 April 2022 - MALAYSIA could experience more shortage of domestic helpers if there is no willpower to improve wages and job treatment of foreign workers in the country, experts said.

“If wages and treatment do not change, I don’t see much changing in this sector aside from it experiencing more shortages and potentially pushing Malaysians into these jobs, which typically are lower-paying with not many amenities,” Asia School of Business assistant economics Prof Dr Melati Nungsari told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an email interview.

Radical shift, she said, does not only involve increasing wages, it also should look into improving the work package and mindset as a whole.

“Our modus operandi of paying little and treating poorly will not work anymore. With higher wages and better policies surrounding the treatment of migrant workers, we could potentially lure them back into our country, but given the current trajectory, this would require a quite radical shift,” she explained.

Indonesia has recently announced that it is phasing out its domestic workers gradually, which experts said may result in households and the agencies scrambling to source from other countries.

“As Indonesia, one of the biggest exporters of domestic worker labour to us, phases out domestic workers, we can expect shortages in this sector to continue as demand for such workers does not seem to be declining,” Melati explained.



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