Direct hiring a sore point

PUTRAJAYA: The issue of hiring maids who come to Malaysia on tourist visas or social passes – a contentious issue raised by Indonesia – will be brought up for discussion at next week’s ministerial meeting between ministers of the two countries.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said he was aware that this matter was of concern to the Indonesian government.

“We will discuss this with our Indonesian counterparts on Monday and make the outcome known later.

“Let us meet and iron out this issue and other matters, and come up with a solution that is satisfactory to all parties.

“We hope to come up with a win-win solution for all,” he told The Star.

Hamzah and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan will be heading to Jakarta to finalise issues related to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic workers.

Separately, Saravanan told The Star that the Human Resources Ministry was optimistic that an agreement was in sight between Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We are finalising the salary schemes and other terms. The Indonesian counterpart is also receptive to the terms. We are more or less coming to an agreement on the MOU.

“However, I am not going to say anything further until we have everything in black and white,” he said.

When asked about the maid online system (SMO) being a major hindrance to the MOU, he said it was best not to speculate on the matter.

Saravanan added that it was better that all stakeholders wait until the signing of the MOU in Bali, Indonesia, which is expected to take place in the first week of February.

In September last year, Saravanan announced that the freeze on foreign workers, including domestic workers, was extended until Dec 31, 2021.

However, a special extension was given to the plantation section by the Cabinet.

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