‘Cap the cost below RM10,000’

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is advocating for a cap on the cost of recruiting Indonesian Domestic Service employees (PDI) at less than RM10,000.

The Human Resources Minister also wants the starting salary to be reduced to RM1,200 from Indonesia’s initial request of RM1,500.

“Regarding the cost of hiring domestic workers, I have asked Indonesia to control their agents and not introduce exorbitant fees. And we have proposed that the cost be capped at below RM10,000,” said Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (pic).

He said this following his official working trip to meet his Indonesian counterpart Ida Fauziyah in Jakarta.

Jakarta will discuss the matter with its agents, he said, and monitor their compliance once a cap has been agreed upon.

Saravanan said both Malaysia and Indonesia had also agreed to implement the use of ewages with regard to the payment of salary.

Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to the recruitment of 10,000 domestic helpers under a pilot project that is expected to be implemented a week after the countries ink the memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU, expected to be signed on Feb 7 and 8 in Bali, Indonesia, will allow the effectiveness of the pilot project to be evaluated, and any weaknesses rectified, he said.

He said Indonesia had also agreed to replace the “one-maid-one-task” policy with “one-maid-one-house” which allows a single domestic helper to be employed in a household of not more than six people.

“I had informed them that the ‘one-maid-one-task’ arrangement would not be practical because that will require each household to hire about five to six maids.

“If they have more than six people in one house, they need to hire another maid,” said Saravanan.

Indonesia had also requested that Malaysia end the practice of allowing domestic workers to enter the country via tourist visas and to only apply for the necessary permits later, he said.

“Jakarta had requested that we do not use such an approach. I informed them that the matter would be brought to the attention of the Home Ministry for a decision to be made, as it’s under its purview,” added Saravanan.

Indonesia has been pressing for a new MOU to replace the one that expired in 2016.

Malaysia and Indonesia first signed an MOU on the Recruitment and Placement of Indonesian Domestic Workers in 2006, which was amended in 2011 and further extended to last until 2016.

The agreement, among others, affirmed the right of the workers to hold their passports, communicate with their families, be provided with a weekly rest day, and for their monthly wages to be paid into a bank account.

Malaysia is heavily dependent on Indonesian labour. Some 2.7 million Indonesian workers are here, but only 704,000 are said to be documented.

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