Hornbill Unleashed

August 15, 2016

What about our Ah Ma, Ah Chi and Ah So?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:01 PM

Some people at the immigration need to stop sitting on their brains and stop bringing religion into everything, especially when it would mess people’s lives up.

The relatively new ruling of ‘no non-Muslim maids for Muslims” is a literally a no-brainer, even if it is argued that it is to save Muslims from being served pork or the children would be indoctrinated by the maids.

There is just no argument for this, for it just does not make sense.

In a country where most Muslim women go out to work and are also breadwinners of the family, even in the most rural of areas, it is plainly ridiculous to come up with such a ruling.

Long before we had Indonesian Muslim maids coming to work on our shores, the cleaners for Muslim families were the Ah Mahs, Ah Sos and the Ah Chis.

Who were they? Indian and Chinese cleaners and maids who were not Muslims – but did that create generations of non-Muslims or non-practising Muslims? Did droves of Muslims become murtad or were there mass conversions of these non-Muslims?

Did that create religious tension in any way? Did it matter to any one then? No, and yet they were much cherished and loved servants and maids to many Malay Muslim families – who treated them more like family members. Many stayed on in the families and worked for generations, until the Indonesian Muslim maids started coming.

If the immigration is to argue that they fear that the non-Muslim maids would be converted or would be uncomfortable, they must bear in mind, these are workers who are coming here because they are willing to work in almost any circumstance for that small amount of money, which means a lot to them.

For Indonesians and Filipino Christians, Malaysia is the preferred choice despite the lesser wages as compared to the Middle East, because the culture is very similar and they are nearer to their home countries. Not to mention the laxity of Malaysian employers, as compared to Middle Eastern employers, who treat servants as servants.

As it is, there is already a major shortage of maids from Indonesia – due to the new caps by Indonesia – and attempts to get locals to work as maids have failed terribly, because no Malaysian would want to do that kind of work for such a low wage.

This is not to mention that there are more Indonesian maids coming to work illegally, as the demand is still very much there.

As for Malaysians, we are willing to fork out the initial sum of thousands to get a foreign maid, as in the long run, this balances out when one gets paid more working outside, and if one does get a good maid, it is worth the money.

Malaysian Muslims, especially Malays, generally are easy-going people and having a non-Muslim maid is not a big matter, especially if they are from Indonesia and Philippines, as long as they are not insistent of having an altar of their deities inside the employers’ houses.

I have seen Muslim employers dropping off their Filipino maids at the churches on Sundays and as for those who have Sri Lankan maids, employers allow them to go to temple – although one has to admit there are a very few over-the-top Muslim employers who insist maids cover up in front of the husbands while in the house.

As for non-Muslim employers with Muslim maids, they are very careful not to cook pork in the house and some have even let go of their dogs for the sake of having a good maid to take care of their elderly and children.

In having such a ridiculous ruling, the immigration has not only made life difficult for the employers but also for the poor maids.

Those who want to whine that Malaysians can do without maids, should first see if they can live off decently on a RM3,000 salary in a city and juggle caring for their young children and elderly, while holding a job, and still manage to do the housework and not be half-dead somewhere in between.

Even a stay-at-home mother with young children would need help, let alone working mothers, and if one is willing to pay and take care of their maids – Muslim or non-Muslim – who is immigration to say otherwise and mess everybody’s lives up?

One can only wonder what is next on the immigration’s list – no Muslim workers at non-Muslim companies? So, what are we to do with the millions of Bangladeshis in our country? What then, immigration?

Zakiah Koya


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