KUALA LUMPUR: The memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the recruitment and protection of Indonesian domestic workers is expected to be finalised by early of next year, says Datuk Awang Hashim.
The Deputy Human Resources Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia and Indonesia held an official-level Technical Working Group Meeting to finalise the MoU in Malaysia on July 23.
"Perhaps it will be finalised by this year or early next year," he said in response to a supplementary question from Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh) during Question Time.
Kok had asked the ministry to reveal the status of the MoU and whether similar protection in terms of time off and wages for those working outside the home would be addressed in the agreement.
Awang explained that the protocol to amend the MoU had expired in 2016.
However, a series of discussions were made between Nov 2017 and Nov 2018 but both parties still could not finalise a new MoU.
Awang said that the discussions had been delayed a few times due to several "unavoidable" matters.
Among the issues were the online "one maid, one task" system as well as the high recruitment cost, he added, saying that the ministry would inform the public on the latest status of the MoU from time to time.
To the initial question, he said the government through the Labour Department had issued licenses to recruitment agencies to hire domestic helpers to work in Malaysia.
"As of Sept 30, a total of 773 private recruitment agencies are still active under Category B and C.
"Based on the data from the Immigration Department, as of Oct 31, a total of 88,752 foreign maids are still working in the country," he said.
At the moment, the Malaysian government is still holding discussions with Indonesia to find a resolution in order to sign a new MoU.