MATARAM, Indonesia: Indonesia will resume sending domestic helpers to Malaysia by the end of this year, marking an end to a more than two-year ban, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Thursday.
A flood of complaints of mistreatment of domestic workers in Malaysia prompted Jakarta in June 2009 to ban maids from taking up jobs in the neighbouring country.
“We both agreed that on December 1 this year, we will normalise labour cooperation with a condition,” Yudhoyono told reporters during a joint press conference with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysia is one of Asia’s largest importers of labour such as domestic workers, mainly from Indonesia.
The women often work for as little as 400 ringgit (130 dollars) a month, and have no laws governing their working conditions.
“I’m very glad that Malaysian people will be able to receive Indonesian domestic workers again. This is very good news,” Najib said.
Both countries had a new agreement in May which was designed to end abuse and torture of workers.
Under the new deal, workers will be allowed to retain their passports instead of giving them to their employers, and will be guaranteed the right to communicate with relatives and Indonesian authorities.
Rather than working seven days a week as was common in the past, the women would be entitled to one day off or cash compensation in lieu.
Both governments also determined the recruitment fee, including flight and accommodation costs usually borne by employers and maids and fixed by recruitment agencies.
Source : AFP