Indonesia will resume sending maids to Malaysia from Dec 1 this year, marking an end to the more than two years of moratorium that was first imposed in June 2009.
The decision on the matter was announced at the joint news conference by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the end of their annual consultations in Mataram, Indonesia today.
“We know that we have many Indonesian nationals working in Malaysia,” Susilo said.
“We have therefore agreed to give protection and assistance to the these workers. We have also agreed that the amendment to the 2006 memorandum of understanding on recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic workers will bring about positive impact to Indonesia.
“God willing, on Dec 1 we shall normalise this,” Susilo said.
Indonesia imposed the moratorium on the sending of maids to Malaysia on June 26, 2009 following reports of abuse of Indonesian maids at the hands of their Malaysian employers.
A series of negotiations was later held that led to the signing of amendments to the the 2006 protocol, in Bandung on May 30 this year.
However, issues concerning the mechanisms to implement the protocol, particularly on the protection for the maids and their employers, have delayed the lifting of the moratorium.
Najib welcomed the decision, saying that the agreement was reached as both countries had managed to resolve issues concerning the process to bring in the Indonesian maids.
He said the Joint Special Task Force that was set up to handle the matter had been required to submit a full report to him and Susilo next month.
“All problems and constraints have now been resolved. The report by the task force will be submitted to me and President Susilo during the Asean Summit in Bali on Nov 17-18.
“God willing, the moratorium will be lifted on Dec 1,” he said.
When asked why the date Dec 1 was chosen, he said it was due to the busy schedules involving him and Susilo and that the Asean Summit next month would allow them to meet again for a bilateral meeting.
The prime minister also reminded would-be employers in Malaysia to not to betray the trust given by Indonesia.
Najib also hoped that Malaysians would reciprocate with kindness the sincerity of the Indonesian president in lifting the ban, and not abuse their maids.
“The important thing is to not to commit to any form of abuse either physical or psychological because this will hurt their feelings. Don’t let one or two incidents sour the whole thing.
“I ask that all would-employers understand this,” he said.
He added that the maid issue had been the subject of intense discussion among Malaysians, including among his Facebook and Twitter social media followers, many of whom were expressing the hope for a quick solution to the issue during his meeting with the Indonesian president.
Indonesia is the main supplier of workers in the non-formal sector in Malaysia.