Indonesia expected to send 5,000 to 10,000 workers to help address labour shortages, says Saravanan

PASIR GUDANG: Indonesia is expected to send between 5,000 and 10,000 of its citizens to help address labour shortages facing Malaysia, including for domestic helpers, says Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

The Human Resources Minister said that other sectors where Indonesian workers would be channelled to were manufacturing and construction.

“During the meeting with my Indonesian counterpart, Ida Fauziy, both sides will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Recruitment and Placement of Indonesian Domestic Workers (MoU PDI).

“A team from the ministry will be going to Indonesia on Dec 14 to look into the technical terms of the MoU PDI before we sign it in January next year and Indonesia can send its workers in the same month,” he added.

Saravanan said this in a press conference after launching the country’s first integrated centralised labour quarters (ICLQ) at the Pasir Gudang industrial area here on Wednesday (Dec 8).

He added that during the meeting, Indonesia requested for Malaysia to set the minimum wage for its domestic workers at RM1,500.

Saravanan, however, said it would be difficult for Malaysia to do so as the minimum wage in this country was set at RM1,200.

“It is up to the employers whether or not to give RM1,500 as a salary but I gave assurances in the meeting that the salary will start from RM1,200,” he added.

Saravanan also said that the ministry took its own initiative to assure the Indonesian government that their citizens' well-being would be taken care of while working in Malaysia.

“The ministry, through the Labour Department, will be forming a special committee to carry out random checks on domestic helpers at their respective employers' houses.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that we fulfilled the promise that we have made to the Indonesian government on this matter,” he added.

Saravanan also said following the meeting with Indonesia, the government would also be conducting similar talks with the Bangladesh government to send their workers here.

On Tuesday (Dec 7), Bernama reported that Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to implement the concept of "one maid-one task", stating that an Indonesian domestic servant can work in a household of no more than six family members.

The Ministry statement issued in conjunction with Saravanan's meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Manpower said the issue of the "One-Channel System" had also been agreed between the two ministers to enable effective monitoring of PDI's maid entry into Malaysia.

Saravanan paid a working visit to Jakarta, Indonesia from Sunday (Dec 5) until Tuesday (Dec 7) following the working visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to Indonesia last month (Nov 9-12).

At a joint press conference with Ismail Sabri and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in conjunction with the visit, they expressed their commitment to expedite the signing of the MoU PDI to meet the needs and demands of employers in Malaysia.

The MoU PDI was signed for the first time on May 13, 2006, in Bali, and subsequently, the Protocol to Amend the MoU PDI was signed on May 31, 2011, in Bandung - which expired on May 30, 2016.

Saravanan said the signing of the MoU PDI needed to be implemented immediately as Indonesia would only allow the entry of Indonesian Manpower (TKI) into Malaysia for the plantation sector after the MoU PDI was finalised.

The Cabinet meetings on April 7 and Nov 12, 2021, had agreed on the entry of foreign workers in the plantation sector into Malaysia as a special exception, he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry said Indonesia welcomed the implementation of the Working for Workers (WFW) mobile application as a platform for complaints on labour issues and requested that the digital application be used effectively to receive complaints from TKIs and PDIs in Malaysia.

As of Oct 5, the number of complaints received in the application was 12,132 cases where the main complaints were related to unpaid salaries, late payment of salaries and illegal salary deductions.

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