KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian authorities have announced that they are in talks with the French government to allow migrant workers from France to work here as domestic helpers and also possibly low-skilled workers in the manufacturing, food preparation and construction industries. This followed the somewhat icy relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia caused by allegations of abuse recently.
“We have to accept that relying on Indonesian maids is simply not sustainable in the long run,” said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam when met after officiating an event here. “The already tense relationship caused by the cases of employers abusing their maids and of maids abusing their employers’ children is not helped by people fanning the fire,” said Subramaniam, referring to political and NGO leaders from both sides making statements in the media recently. “The ‘temporary’ maid freeze, imposed by Indonesia since 2009 has put a lot of strain on Malaysian parents trying to juggle their hectic work hours and homes duties. And the longer we take to solve these issues, the worse it gets for them. So we need to think outside the box.
“After looking around the region for alternative sources of domestic helpers, we’ve decided that French maids were the best answer.”
The minister said that French maids were just as efficient, hardworking and organised as their Indonesian counterparts. “If you can put aside the inconvenience of possibly having to learn French to get them to do your housework, French maids are a very good option. In fact, in some aspects they are the better option,” said Subra. “They look good, and come complete with their own uniform.
“Not to mention, our two cultures are completely different, so it avoids the uncomfortable situation of fighting over wayang kulit, batik or who owns what song and all that,” he said, referring to Indonesia and Malaysia’s fight over the ownership of the folk song Rasa Sayang and the Negaraku/Terang Bulan argument.
Subra said that this move would benefit both nations, considering Malaysia’s stronger economic position. “Malaysian employers would certainly welcome the French maids. I’ve had so many positive feedback from professionals requiring domestic help. So many of my friends, fathers of small children who need someone to watch over them, have asked me to expedite this deal.
“The maids, in turn, would find a better life here in our great country, compared to their desolate existence in their backward, mainly agro-based homeland. Many would take up the opportunity to leave their vineyards and work in our metropolitan, urban cities. It’s every French girl’s dream,” he said confidently.
Subra said that he will be leading a contingent of 200 Malaysian experts to study the maid situation in France in July. “This is a serious situation, and we need to study this carefully. We will start our French language and cultural lessons next week to acclimatise ourselves, including going on a strictly French food diet and familiarising ourselves with French culture. In fact, I’ve already replaced having rice at home with French fries. It’s a good source of carbohydrates. My officers and I are quite stoked to check out the quality of maids there.
“Hopefully, this deal will happen. Oui?“