Most expatriates have household help. Single expatriates, unless they entertain frequently, or do not like to cook, usually only need a part-time maid. Some families prefer a full-time, live-in maid as houses require more housekeeping than usual because of the pollution, and fierce rains which cause leaks. There are no daycare facilities for children under two, so household help is essential. Normally only representational homes will have more than one maid.
Maids, especially good ones, are becoming increasingly difficult to find, so expatriate employees departing post often try to help arrange for their maids to be hired by their replacements. When looking for a maid, it is most recommended to make sure that the maid is carrying a Malaysian IC, as only Malaysian maids are allowed to work on a part-time basis and for houses only. Foreigners are only entitled to work under one employer’s name only, so beware of a maid whose work permit is under the last employer’s name and wants to work for you. Moreover, holding a copy of a Malaysian IC will represent a guarantee for security reasons.
Average salaries for full-time live-in maids range from RM800-RM1,100 per month. Expect to pay in the higher range for an experienced maid or if you have a large family. Household staff have 1½ or 2 days off each week, usually Saturday and Sunday. A bonus equivalent to one month’s salary is standard and is usually given at the appropriate holiday-Chinese New Year for Chinese staff, Hari Raya (at the end of the month of Ramadan) for Malays, and Deepavali for Indians.
Most homes, but few apartments, have domestic staff quarters. Most expatriates living in houses employ part-time gardeners. Personal drivers are usually not needed, but if you do need one, they are quite easy to find through friends, recommendation or advertisements. Extra help for parties can be hired for an evening. Several catering services provide quite satisfactory service at reasonable prices.