Malaysia and Indonesia to meet over maids MOU

Datuk Seri M. Saravanan. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and Indonesia will resume fresh talks towards signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on recruitment and placement of domestic helpers, says Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

The Human Resources Minister said he participated in a virtual discussion with his Indonesian counterpart, Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah, on May 6 to express the intention of both sides to proceed with the negotiations virtually.

“The discussion with the Indonesians was to resume talks to finalise the MOU on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic helpers as soon as possible,” he said in a statement yesterday.

In December last year, the Malaysian government said it needed some time to deliberate on the fresh conditions by Indonesia for a labour agreement for domestic helpers.

Saravanan said talks were temporarily delayed following the lockdown imposed in Jakarta on June 15, 2021, including a few positive cases recorded among the staff at Indonesia’s Manpower Ministry.

“The discussions between the two sides will resume when Indonesia ends its lockdown and the ministry’s officers return to the office,” he said.

He acknowledged that the issue of foreign domestic workers had arisen as there had been 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.

During the Prime Minister’s official visit to Jakarta on Feb 4-5, Savaranan said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin 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 MOU protocols expired on May 30, 2016,” noted Saravanan.

According to the Human Resources Minister, as at Feb 28 this year, a total of 73,173 domestic helpers in the country were from Indonesia.

Several major employment agencies have continued to call on the government to lift the intake restrictions on foreign domestic helpers.

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