Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lagi Cerita Maid

No worries, it’s not at all about Bibik. She’s just fine slogging in the kitchen. Even more motivated now, upon getting an advance of her half year’s salary two weeks back, to purchase a few hectares more of farm land back in her village in Lampung Tengah, Sumatera. Well, that’s my Bibik, all her money goes back home. I support her fully - her perancangan and simpanan di hari tua.

Well if it’s not about my Bibik, who’s Bibik is it then? Errr..confusing as it may be, this story is about my other Bibik. Yes, as at 12.00pm today, I have TWO bibiks, both are registered under ABE’s name. Say what?? Four persons in a household and they need like two maids, you gotta be kidding me!! Correction, it’s three adults (Mom, my youngest sister and hubby), two kids and a baby who need two maids. Ahhh…that sounds more like it, yes??

In the past few months, Mom has been expressing her concern that the maid in our Seremban house is unable to cope with the abundance of house chores. Two kids, aged between 4 and 6 and a new born – 5 months, have pretty much been draining the maid’s energy and time. She is obviously struggling to get her work done. It is not fair to let her shoulder the blame, as the house in Seremban could be quite a challenge to manage. I know how it is coz’ I still remember how long it took me to mop and then vacuum the whole house that time when I was laying idle during my wait for SPM results. And there is still the laundry, the dishes, the cooking, the ironing to do, definitely not a place for the not so cekal hearted domestic help!!! And I think because of that too, we have lost a few maids in the last one year alone. Two ran away, I think, and another two were sent back as they didn’t quite fit in. Suffice to say, last year was really a bad maid year for Mom’s household.

Since each of my siblings has one or two maids to his or her names, I was the only one whose is still in the singular, I told Mom that I’d help out. But first, I’d like to go check with the Immigrations Department if the maid could be under my name and not ABE’s. There's a blanket ruling at Immigrations that only the head of the house (husband, in my case here) will be named as the employer of the maid. I strongly felt that this ruling could not be applied to my situation. After all, the maid was for my Mom, it just defies logic for a SIL to take a maid for his MIL. Lainlah if I wasn’t working and I didn’t have the source of income to justify for my maid application. Doesn't hurt to ask, perhaps there is an exception to this ruling.

So, there I was, all armed with my reasoning and logic matrix, deliberating with the officer in charge at the Immigrations office. Explained to him the situation of my Mom, elderly and in dire straits of a another help in her house. And moi, as the daughter, would like to provide her with the domestic assistance. Just before I could relate to him the whole story, he said to me, “Kena guna nama suami Puan.”

“Kenapa pulak, ni untuk Mak saya?”

“Ohh..tak boleh, itu peraturan kami.”

“But the maid is for my mother, tanggung jawap saya, bukan tanggung jawap husband saya.”

“Ohh…memang tak boleh, kalau nak ambil maid kedua, ketiga, mesti jugak atas nama suami puan.”

Then I gave him a situation that would require him to use his reasoning (read: slow brains).

“Ok..kata lah, lepas ni suami saya nak ambil maid untuk mak dia pulak, so how?” He replied, “Tak de masalah, boleh ambil sampai 3 maid.”

Obviously this guy felt the question coming, he was prepared with the answer. My next question was, “Kalau kakak husband, siapa punya responsibility, katalah dia tak mampu nak ambil maid atas nama dia.”

His response, “Suami puan punya tanggung jawap lah.”

My question, “So how, quota 3 maid dah penuh??”

He just gave me a blank stare and replied, “Macam tu, kena mintak tolong orang lain lah Puan.”

I was fuming with irritation by then. I asked him the rationale to the rigid ruling. His relpy was, “Ada urusan dalaman yang saya tak boleh bagitau pada Puan.”

Isshhh…budak ni, nak kena ni!! The tone of my voice was not polite anymore. “Urusan dalaman yang macamana?? Saya berhak nak tau sebab saya tergolong dalam kategori yang nak mohon lebih dari satu maid!!”

He then shyly said, “Tak de Puan, dengan cara ni kita tau lah samada suami tu ada satu isteri ker, dua isteri ker dari permohonan maid dia.”

Huh???? Am I hearing his response right? Is this the Immigrations Department or Pejabat Kadi, that you make it a business to know who's who with more than one wives???

When the officer replied in such a manner, I knew I had to give him a piece of my mind. I told him that wouldn’t it make more sense if the logic to this was, one household, one referral point and in this case, the husband. And if anything happens to the maid, the authorities would know who to look for.

His last one liner was, “Ha ah, system kita memang macam tu.”

I rest my case after wasting a good 15 minutes trying to get that answer out. Instead, in the end, I was the one who furnished the pathetic guy with the parting shot. Thanked him for his assistance and made my way out of the Immigrations office.

As I walked to my car, I thought to myself, “Who is the smart aleck who designed the system at the Immigrations Dept?”

Ohh.....please let it not be anyone of the BIG boys in system design!!


Naz said...

This entry reminds me of an anthropology classic I read once. Regardless of the questions asked, the Dowayos will only answer *because our ancestors say so*. To them, it made full sense. But to us?
I hope you'll be able to settle this soon. Serenity now!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

this is one of the most improbable, logic-defying (but highly amusing) reasonings I hv ever come across! aparaa...

Kak Teh said...

Kay, kak teh baca pun pening. I thought I have heard everything, but this takes the biscuit!

MA & Brood said...

When I applied for my maid under my name (all sebelum ni under my ex's), they asked for my divorce papers. I asked why? What is the relevance of that? Diorang jawap, this is to justify tak adanya salary slip husband.

I said, my salary alone is enough and falls under the limit set by Immigration.

Their standard answer was : Itu procedure kami and refused to process my application without that document walaupun everything else was in order.

I still don't get it.

MA & Brood said...

And oh, sambung lagi.

I shot a hypothetical question to them :

So, kalau pompuan yang husband dia tinggal dia buta saja macam itu, tak ada surat cerai; tak boleh apply maid lah? Sapa nak jaga anak dia? Eventhough gaji dia lebih dari cukup nak apply for a maid?

Their programmed answer:

Itu procedure kami, Puan.


tireless mom said...

Dear Kay

Ada scripted answer lah. If probe further tak tahu jawapan or tak menasabah. Just like Q&A of Customer Services Dept or hotline service.

One consolation is you succeeded to have two maids though you only require one for your family. Liability wise tolak tepi but if anything happens, they will go after ABE and you too. Berbuat kebajikan, tak pe.

I have two "registered" maids too. One for me, one for MIL and possibly one more to come. Tak boleh nak tepis rasanya. For MIL's MIL.

Waterlily said...

Oooo..sebab nak trace whether the guy has more than one wife ye? Hmm...perhaps the person who designed the system or set the rule is/was a WOMAN?

Madam Tai Tai said...


Yes, it doesn't make sense, does it? We women are still seen as a nonentity, a second-class citizen - walaupun we have achieved very far in our professional status. If women can afford to employ maids based on the required income policy, I just understand why we are not allowed to do so? Why does everything have to be depended on our husbands? Tak paham system kuno kat Malaysia ni..

mamasita said...

Its so stressful when we have a very rigid ruling in the wrong places kan?
Bengang betul. Mujur you tak bagi the officer satu penumbuk! hahaha

kay_leeda said...


As expected, when dealing with the government officials here, surprises are aplenty. Yes, I've managed to get things sorted out. No choice, had to follow the procedures still, and bacame poorer by RM620 (levy payments for second maid is more expensive than 1st maid).

Mom's maid is already in, okay but very fresh.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

You should have seen the look on my face when the officer gave his last liner. Memang tak masuk akai!!! That's the type of counter service we get from them..sigh :(

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh,

Not just the biscuit, but also the cekodok and cucuq udang too!! Ohhh how I drag myself to the Immigrations office. Kalu tak de hal like this, I'd stay far, far away.

kay_leeda said...

Dear Ma,

Ohh...THEY make it so difficult for single Moms to apply for maids. Documents after documents have to be in place for their scrutiny. Not to mention the way they look at you, when you are a divorcee or a single MOM. Macam teruk sangat lah. I have friends who were grilled at the counter just because they are single moms. Apa masalah they all ni???

What they have overlooked is that, there are many maid applications, which are not of the typical straight forward application, for elderly parents, single moms etc, etc. Obviously they have not thought of the "else if" options.

Ni nak take a LEGAL maid and they make it so difficult. We pay money to get the maid, not cheap and still the hassle. Tak faham..tak faham :(

Yang tak tahan tu, that standard reply, "Itu prodecure kami." Isshh, isshhh...senang nyer bagi jawapan.

kay_leeda said...

Dear TM,

Yar kebajikan, not easy for the pahala to come by eh?

Indeed more of the 2nd and 3rd maids are coming our way. May be it's my ego, I would really, really like to see MY NAME written on the approval letter and not ABE's. My mother mahh...but maybe these people are of the opinion, MIL also mother mahh. Okay lah, since they approved it, no point bising-bising lagi. gonna get one for MIL's MIL?? Wahhh..penuh lah buku kanan you :)

kay_leeda said...


I'd really, really like to know who designed the system. Perhaps its a shared system between pejabat kadi & Immigrations kot. You know these buy 1 get 1 free deal :) That's why we see all these peculiarities.

kay_leeda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kay_leeda said...

Dear Mamasita,

Strict ruling applied to the wrong place. Yang ramai illegals to, how do they explain that?? Here we are, nak put is a proper application, and they make it so difficult.

Belum lah sampai nak melayang penumbuk. Kalu I size you, possible gak I nak bully him. Ni I half his size, dia hembus, I tergolek lohhh :)

kay_leeda said...

Tai Tai,

Of course it doesn't make sense to people like us. But to them the logic is perfectly fine. WE wife, MEN husband and head of the household. Even if we earn 3 times more than the MEN, WE are still a nonentity. And yes, at times, some of the officers will make remarks when they look at the payslips. Gaji banyak pun kena tanya, gaji cukup makan pun they will ask. There are times when I'm just so tempted to tell them, "Hey, people can you just do your work. What you see is for your eyes only, pleaseeee!!"

But then malas nak create a scene, apa-apa pun they all kan "Berkhidmat untuk Negara".

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Wah, peningnya kepala saya mendengar tentang Kay dan permohonan berkenaan Bibik, kata Pak Malim yg membaca sampai lembik. p.s Bibik boleh urut kepala kucing, tak? kata Pak Malim sambil meminum susu kotak.

kay_leeda said...

Wahai Pak Malim kucing ray yang alim,

Procedure for maid applications can be somewhat confusing, baru Kay tau selepas officer nya cakap pusing-pusing. Jadi bila kita jumpa pihak Immigrations kita pun harus pandai cerita, jelas Kay setelah penat baca buku cerita.

Fuhh..Bibik saya semua tasks boleh buat, dia kuat, you name it, urut, cat rumah, tanam sayur and masak-masak, semua nya beres, sebab tu lah Maam nya si Kay ni tidak stress :)

jabishah said...

Hi Kak Kay,

True. I fail to understand why such simple procedure cant be amended kan? But on 2nd thot I think I know why... Semuanya asik yes tuan , yes tuan je.

bella said...

and there I was thinking to take a maid as the cost of house management is taking a toll on us...laundry/part time maid etc...Can we have a dept which promotes maid from our own kampung folk ladies, so that no hassle with immigration etc...Boleh juga buat pahala di bumi sendiri kan...