Should I hire a Filipino or Indonesian domestic helper (maid) in Malaysia?

Published on 12 Dec 2023, last updated on 2 Feb 2024

If you’re hiring a maid (helper) for your household, you might be wondering whether hiring an Indonesian or Filipino helper is more suitable for your household. While there is no right or wrong answer, you may want to consider general language, religion and educational differences.


Filipino helpers tend to speak better English than Indonesian helpers

Filipino helpers tend to speak English better than Indonesian helpers, whereas Indonesian helpers tend to be able to speak and understand Malay (which is close to their Bahasa Indonesia). Depending on your worker’s main job requirement, language may be an important factor of consideration. For example, if your worker’s main role is to provide caregiving services for your parents, and if your parents can only speak either English OR Malay, you may want to factor hiring someone who can communicate in the same language as your parents as a priority factor.

In addition to that, if you are an expatriate employer hiring a domestic helper in Malaysia and you cannot speak Malay, we recommend that you hire a Filipino worker so that you can clearly communicate and provide meaningful instructions, guidance and feedback to your worker.


Filipino helpers tend to be of Catholic/Christian faith whereas Indonesian helpers tend to be of Muslim faith

Some employers may prefer hiring workers who share the same religious background as them. If this is not important to you, we have generally observed that Indonesian helpers are open to handling (as opposed to consuming) pork and caring for dogs, especially if these requirements are a minor part of their job scope. Regardless, all workers should be permitted to practise their faith freely without any prejudice.


Filipino helpers tend to be of higher educational background than Indonesian helpers

Generally speaking, Filipino helpers tend to have a higher educational background than Indonesian helpers. Some Filipino helpers also hold various college degrees (in commerce, marketing, etc.) and have held professional roles in the Philippines. Whether this can translate into their suitability for your household depends on your unique household needs. If you require your worker to perform a higher skilled role (for example, to be independent, literate and tech-savvy in looking up special cooking recipes as your household follows strict dietary guidelines), you may want to take this factor into consideration.

There is no right answer as to whether hiring a Filipino or Indonesian maid (domestic helper) is better. Every worker, whether Indonesian or Filipino, also has her own unique set of strengths, skills and job preferences. Every household is also unique with different requirements and preferences. We always recommend that employers consider multiple factors before making a hiring decision.

Apart from language, religion and educational considerations, it also helps to know the contractual differences between Filipino and Indonesian maids (domestic helpers).

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