Indonesian ambassador: Country working to reduce maid hiring cost

INDONESIAN ambassador to Malaysia Hermono said representatives from both countries have agreed to work towards reducing the cost of bringing in maids and domestic helpers.

A media portal reported Hermono saying that the recent meeting had agreed on the matter saying that the cost, currently capped at RM15,000, could be further reduced but needs time to do so.

“We will talk to the organisations representing the recruitment agencies in our respective countries and look at ways of bringing the cost down. This cannot be done overnight.

“We will table the matter at the next JWG [joint working group] meeting in Kuala Lumpur in June,” he told FMT.

On Feb 23, Bernama reported the Human Resources Ministry is still waiting for an answer from Indonesia regarding the proposal to reduce the cost of hiring Indonesian domestic workers.

It was also reported that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the employment and protection of Indonesian domestic servants inked on April 1, 2022, the total cost for Malaysian employers to bring in maids was capped at RM15,000.

At the same time, there are reports of some employers having paid as high as RM20,000 for their domestic helpers.

On a related matter, Hermano also said Indonesia is unable to accommodate a proposal by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to do away with agents to bring the cost down as the MoU specified that the recruitment of maids, referred to as the informal sector, had to go through the registered agents.

“It is impossible to do away with agencies to recruit foreign workers in Indonesia.

“It is a huge country with people from many remote areas wanting to go abroad. It’s impossible for the government departments or agencies in Jakarta to handle such a huge movement,” he was quoted as saying.

Human Resource Minister V Sivakumar had also been quoted as saying the cost is too high and needs to be brought down.

According to the ministry, as of Jan 22, there are 399,827 Indonesians working in Malaysia in the manufacturing, construction, plantation, service, agriculture, foreign domestic workers, mining and quarrying sectors.

Of that number, 63,323 are foreign domestic workers and Indonesians comprise the largest number in the domestic sector in Malaysia. — TMR / pic by TMR