Negotiations on Indonesian maid still under way
PETALING JAYA, Oct 14 – Negotiations between Malaysia and Indonesia on the issue of domestic maids are still under way, with no conclusive agreement reached.
“There are several issues that need to be ironed out before we can wrap up the negotiations,” Labour director-general Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim said today.
Indonesia has temporarily halted the recruitment of its maids to Malaysia pending a more comprehensive deal particularly in terms of salary and work conditions.
He said the central issue that Malaysia was most concerned in the ongoing negotiations was the process of recruitment of Indonesian maids as “problems and exploitation suffered by these maids was found to have originated from the recruitment process itself.”
“Improper and unregulated means of recruitment committed by unscrupulous people or individuals masquerading as registered agents operating either in Malaysia or source country were often culprits contributing to the predicament of these maids.
“In many instances, the agents themselves were involved in exploitative activities,” said Ismail.
On the issue of salary, Ismail said Malaysia’s stand was that it could not be fixed and should depend on the agreement between worker and employer.
“It is very difficult for us to fix the salaries for this category of workers as we would also have to consider workers in other sectors,” he added.
At present, the salary varied from RM400 to RM650, depending on the experience and mutual agreement between maid and employer.
Meanwhile, Ismail said Malaysia was looking at recruiting Muslim domestic maids from Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand. He said this would not only provide more choice for Malaysian employers but also help reduce their dependence on traditional suppliers like Indonesia.
He said that currently, there were 251,255 registered domestic maids in Malaysia, 230,141 of whom were Indonesians.
Earlier, speaking at a panel discussion titled, ‘Strategies to Support Proposed International Standard for Domestic Workers’, Ismail said it was Malaysia’s policy to provide equal protection for both local and foreign workers. – Bernama