JAKARTA, April 2 — The implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the recruitment and protection of Indonesian domestic helpers (PDI) in Malaysia, which has been signed by both countries yesterday (April 1), requires continued cooperation between Malaysia and Indonesia.
The signing of the MoU PDI marked a historic day as the previous agreement ended in 2016.
The results of intensive discussions led by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan and his Indonesian counterpart, Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah were successfully finalised within six months.
The latest developments show Malaysia is always committed to ensuring that the recruitment and protection of workers especially Indonesians are always guaranteed, and their welfare protected.
Although various initiatives, including the implementation of the One Channel System, have been agreed upon by both countries in the MoU, Malaysia can only monitor workers who come into the country legally, said Saravanan.
“If they enter (the country) through rat lanes (illegal routes) or as tourists before seeking employment, it will be difficult for us to monitor,” he said.
Thus, Jakarta’s support is much needed in ensuring that workers do not enter illegally, Saravanan said, adding that he also understands that the matter cannot be controlled 100 per cent but that more decisive and effective action must be taken.
“We have proven our sincerity but this cannot just depend on us, but (labour) source countries also must play a role,” he told Malaysian media here today.
Other details in the MoU are that the cost of bringing in PDI has been set at below RM15,000 and will be reviewed every three months, and an e-wages system will be implemented to monitor salary payments where each employer needs to pay wages before the 7th of each month.
Each PDI will serve a household of not more than six people. Contributions are to be made through the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) and most recently, the implementation of induction courses to educate workers to understand their rights and avoid exploitation.
Workers will also have a special application, ‘Working for Workers’ which will give them an avenue to voice complaints regarding shelter, food and their rights, without having to physically present themselves to the Labour Office.
Saravanan explained that Malaysia was committed to addressing issues including forced labour by ratifying Protocol 29 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on March 21.
As an ILO member, Malaysia always takes effective measures to prevent and eliminate forced labour, provide protection to victims as well as to access appropriate and effective remedies such as compensation, and curb perpetrators of forced labour.
“This shows that Malaysia is committed enough to all sectors and to all countries,” he said.
Saravanan said this when asked to comment on Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) statement that he wanted the PDI MoU agreement to be implemented well and hoped that it would cover other sectors between the two countries.
“During initial discussions with Indonesia, they were not too comfortable. But today, Malaysia is trusted as a country that protects workers,” he said.
Following the signing of the MoU, Saravanan expects Indonesia will send 10,000 workers within a month to Malaysia, probably after Ramadan.
A special committee headed by the secretary-general of both countries’ ministries will meet once in three months to monitor the implementation of the MoU.
The MoU signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Jokowi at Istana Merdeka here.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri is expected to return to Malaysia today, ending his working visit to Jakarta.