Domestic Help

KUALA LUMPUR, August 7, 2008 (AFP) – Malaysian women will be encouraged to train as domestic helpers, in a government programme aimed at reducing the country’s dependency on foreign workers, reports said Thursday. Women and Community Development Minister Ng Yen Yen said the course would give instruction in managing the home and caring for children and the elderly, and would be available to Malaysian women aged 18 years and above.

“They will be called home managers. I will not use the word ‘maids’ as I think there is a lot of negativity attached to it,” she told the official Bernama news agency.

Ng said there would be no set salary but that the Malaysian domestic helpers could be paid up to 2,000 ringgit (305 dollars) a month — four times what Malaysians commonly paid helpers from Indonesia.

“In the long term, we want our families to be looked after by Malaysian caregivers,” Ng said according to The Star daily.

Few Malaysian women are willing to work as domestic helpers, and many of those with few formal skills prefer to obtain work in shops and factories.

As a result, Malaysians employ nearly 320,000 foreign maids — mostly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Sri Lanka — part o