Indonesia officially allows domestic maids beginning Dec 1

Indonesia yesterday announced officially that it will resume the sending of domestic maids to Malaysia effective Dec 1.

The decision on the matter was made jointly by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a bilateral meeting, last night.

“At the meeting just now, President SBY and I had decided together that the sending of manpower (in non-formal sectors) from Indonesia to Malaysia will be resumed beginning Dec 1.

“This news will certainly be well received in Malaysia because the people concerned have been waiting for a long time and this shows the determination and sincerity of President SBY in looking for a positive settlement to whatever problems that crop up between the two countries,” Najib told Malaysian journalists at a press conference, here tonight.

He said he had expressed the Malaysian government’s and people’s appreciation for the decision with the hope that its implementation would run smoothly in line with the amendments made to the memorandum on the recruitment and deployment of Indonesian work force which was signed by both countries in Bandung in May.

The bilateral meeting was a follow-up to the meeting between the two leaders at the Annual Consultation held in Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat, last month where both parties had agreed to make a joint decision in Bali on the issue.

At the meeting in Lombok, they had agreed to look at the report of the Joint Special Task Force on the implementation mechanism for the protocols to amend the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recruitment and Deployment of Indonesian Domestic Maids 2006.

Today, both the Malaysian Human Resource Minister Dr S. Subramaniam and Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar had reported to both leaders on the implementation mechanism for the agreement.

Indonesia enforced the temporary freeze on the despatch of domestic maids to Malaysia on June 26, 2009 following several incidents of abuse by Malaysian employers on their Indonesian maids.

Subsequently, both countries had discussed the matter until a consensus was reached with the signing of a protocol to amend several provisions in the 2006 memorandum of understanding, held in Bandung on May 30.

However, the adoption of a suitable mechanism for the implementation of the protocol pertaining to the protection of the Indonesian domestic maids and their employers by the Joint Special Task Force had resulted in the withdrawal of the moratorium being delayed until now.

Dr Subramanian, when clarifying on the agreement, said among the major issues that were agreed upon were the necessity to have a working contract for domestic maid, the cost of recruiting Indonesian maid fixed at RM4,511, compulsory 200-hour course, one day per week holiday, besides allowing the maids to keep their own passport.

Employers, on the other hand, are allowed to take back RM1,800 from their cost in advancing to the workers by deducting their pay not exceeding 50 per cent per month from their salary.

– Bernama