PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and Indonesia will resume fresh talks towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the recruitment and placement of domestic helpers, says Datuk Seri M Saravanan.
The Human Resources Minister said he had participated in a virtual discussion with his Indonesian counterpart Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah on May 6 to express the intention of both sides to proceed with the negotiations virtually.
"The discussion with the Indonesian side was to resume talks towards finalising the MoU on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic helpers as soon as possible," he said in a statement Thursday (June 24).
In December last year, the Malaysian government said it needed some time to deliberate on the fresh conditions laid out by Indonesia for a labour agreement for domestic helpers.
Saravanan explained that talks were temporarily delayed following the locdown imposed in Jakarta on June 15, 2021, including a few positive cases recorded among the staff of Indonesia's Ministry of Manpower.
"The discussions between the two sides will only resume once Indonesia ends its lockdown and the ministry's officers return to office," Saravanan added.
He acknowledged that the issue of foreign domestic workers had arisen following no new foreign intakes from source countries following the implementation of several movement control orders since March 18 last year.
"The intake of new foreign workers, including domestic helpers, is not expected to happen until the end of the year," said Saravanan.
He also thanked the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the understanding that employers need to continue the services of foreign domestic helpers.
During the Prime Minister's official visit to Jakarta on Feb 4 and 5, Saravanan said he had reached an agreement with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to expedite the finalisation of the MoU on the recruitment and placement of domestic helpers.
"The protocols of the MoU expired on May 30, 2016," noted Saravanan.
According to the Human Resources Minister, the bulk of domestic helpers were from Indonesia, with, as of Feb 28 this year, a total of 73,173 domestic helpers from the republic.
Several major employment agencies have continued to call on the government to lift the blockade on foreign domestic helpers.