Press Statement by MP for Segambut, Hannah Yeoh on 29 October 2021:
Make it easy for working families to apply for domestic helpers post Covid-19 pandemic
Since the multiple lockdowns hit Malaysia beginning March 2020, many households have been struggling with changes to their usual routines. Schools were shut, work-from-home SOPs were implemented and borders began to shut. Travel plans halted. Many young families struggled with managing online lessons for children, cooking and simultaneously managing zoom meetings for work. Many contracts for domestic helpers ended during this period and many employers were not able to find new replacements as borders have shut and fees skyrocketed.
Many recruitment agencies for domestic helpers could not sustain their operations during this time with zero income and salaries to pay. Many such agencies have shut down. The Malaysia National Association of Employment Agencies (“Association”) estimates about 5000 applications for domestic helpers in a month prior to the lockdown. Since the lockdown, it is estimated that there are currently 10,000 to 20,000 households waiting for borders to re-open and for new domestic helpers to be allowed to enter Malaysia.
These 20,000 households are working Malaysians struggling and desperate for assistance at home.
I urge the Federal Government to:
- Assist household employers with the re-opening of this sector swiftly and safely by allowing new domestic helpers to enter Malaysia subject to vaccination, testing and quarantine protocols
- Resolve any outstanding MOU issues with sender countries
- Provide a fast track application system to reduce the long waiting line of households waiting for new domestic helpers.
This win-win approach will assist with levy collection/income for the Government and halt illegal supply or trafficking of domestic helpers. We must do our utmost best to retain the-already-low-women participation in the workforce and not lose more of them because of lack of support at home. Everyday counts for these struggling working families, to retain their jobs and to provide care for their loved ones at home.