Industry players welcome pact to bring in workers

PETALING JAYA: Industry players welcome the Recruitment and Placement of Indonesian Workers (PDI) under the new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Malaysia and Indonesia.

The latest development comes after the visit by the Human Resources and Home ministries to Jakarta yesterday to allow 10,000 domestic workers into the country under a pilot project.

National Association of Human Resources Malaysia (Pusma) president Zarina Ismail said all their members were geared up to respond to the ministry’s new announcement and would do their best to make it a success.

“The pilot project, based on the principal agreement in the MOU, is a welcome effort. This will help improve as well as beef up the structural details and functionality clauses being finalised in the MOU that we hope would protect employer and worker equally.

“The application is said to be a database integration between Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry and Indonesia’s Manpower Ministry and will be a positive move towards fighting human trafficking and forced labour elements that exist now.

“We have been recruiting and placing domestic workers in accordance with guidelines that govern us... but room for improvement is always welcome,” said Zarina.

Association of Employment Agencies Malaysia (Papa) vice-president Suresh Tan said that the pilot project would address the supply issues in the country.

However, he added that stakeholders were still in the dark about the details of the project.

“I am still clueless about it but we will welcome this decision as it will resolve the demand issue of maids in Malaysia,” Tan said.

On the latest concept of “one-maid-one-house”, he also said it was a reasonable decision made by the ministry.

The concept, which was announced yesterday by the Human Resources Ministry, says that an Indonesian domestic helper can be employed to work in a household of not more than six people.

Tan added that the concept would be more practical as opposed to the initial plan of “one-maid-one-task”.

“The maximum number of household members is fine and it is in line with the Malaysian average number of household members,” he said.

Regarding the “one channel system”, Tan said the government must make the call while considering the interest of the people, who are the consumers.

“The government must look at it from a legal perspective as well as the benefits to the rakyat,” he said.

However, he added that the system would be able to address the worrying issues of human trafficking and abuse as it would be easier to track the agencies involved.

He also hoped that the new system would be able to cut down time consumed during the recruitment process of the maids.

However, Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said that employers should still be given the freedom to recruit their own domestic helpers by going to the ground.

“We welcome the system, but it should not be limited to one way only. Let the employers have the freedom to recruit the maids.

“The processing fees would be lesser compared to going through agencies that might cost us up to RM15,000 to RM20,000,” he said, adding that employers could save up to RM5,000 if the recruitment was made on their own.

He added that the supply and demand issues would finally be resolved when the pilot project kicks off next month. However, he still questioned the mechanism.

“Who will be involved? Have they identified the 10,000 maids? And how is the mechanism?” he asked.

Currently, the cost of getting a maid in Malaysia is between RM15,000 and RM20,000 depending on the latest Covid-19 health guidelines.

The ministry also said in the statement that the cost structure would be reviewed every six months while also taking into account air fares and quarantine charges.

The memorandum of understanding on the recruitment between both countries is expected to be signed on Feb 7 and 8 in Bali.

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