With its source of foreign maids drying up, major recruitment agencies in Malaysia are making a renewed push for “non-traditional countries” including Cambodia to fill the void, but officials revealed yesterday that a long-awaited deal has stalled.
Recruiters quoted in Malaysia’s state news agency yesterday assured the public that while Indonesia and the Philippines are ceasing their supply of domestic workers, “countries like Cambodia . . . are believed to have no problems in sending their maids to Malaysia”.
In a country notorious for its poor treatment of domestic workers, one employer said that “no matter what, we will always insist on high quality of service and ensure that the cost of employing maids remain[s] reasonable and that their wages don’t exceed our country’s minimum pay policy.”
In 2011, Cambodia placed a moratorium on sending maids to Malaysia amid reports of abuse, including rape and the withholding of salaries.
Plans are currently under way to renew the pipeline, but Chuob Narath, deputy director of the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Department, said little progress had been made.
The latest draft of a memorandum of understanding between the countries – offering various safeguards for Cambodian workers – has been heavily scrutinised by Malaysia, which has stalled the signing of it since late last year, according to Narath.
“We wanted to sign it at the end of 2014 or early 2015, but because of the internal issues of Malaysia, it has been suspended until now,” he said.
“If the Malaysian side had done this quickly, then we could complete it quickly as well.”