Daily-paid maids now the popular choice

By Wani Muthiah and P.Aruna

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - More people have resorted to hiring part-time maids due to the high cost involved in employing foreign domestic help.

Executive Eileen Ng said the two part-time maids who work for her once a week are good enough to keep her house clean.

"They work for up to three hours whenever they come and I pay them RM80 (S$32.4) for every visit," said Ng.

She said she was put off by the high agency fees for full-time maids.

"So for now, I'll make do with my part-time maids until I am able to source for a good deal," said Ng, who lives in Ara Damansara with her husband.

Housewife Tholasee Manoharan, 55, spends RM70 once a week to get her house cleaned.

She said the agency in Ipoh, which supplies part-time Indonesian maids, charged the amount for a "9am to 5pm" session.

"I used to have a live-in maid to take care of my mother who was ill at the time, but since she recovered, I no longer need a full-time maid," she said, adding that a part-time maid was convenient and cheaper.

The business development manager of Instant Cleaning Services S. Thilagavathy said her business had increased recently as many people did not replace their foreign maids whose contracts had ended.

"We have been exceptionally busy with even households in upmarket residential areas engaging us," said Thilagavathy who has four cleaners working for her.

All are Indonesians who are paid RM40 daily for eight hours of work.

According to Thilagavathy, she charges RM18 per hour for cleaning services in Kuala Lumpur and RM20 per hour in Petaling Jaya.

A freelance domestic maid, who only wanted to be known as Lim, said she earned about RM2,000 a month.

"I charge a minimum of RM65 for four hours of cleaning," she said.

Lim, who is from Sungai Buloh, said she worked four days a week and cleaned about seven or eight homes.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) acting president Jeffrey Foo said there would still be a demand for live-in foreign maids despite the flourishing part-time cleaning services.

"Most of those hiring maids from our member agencies are those with sick or old people as well children."