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Malaysia concern over the "live-out" proposal by Indonesia

Malaysia concern over the "live-out" proposal by Indonesia

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by IDWFED published Jun 04, 2013 12:00 AM
A proposal from the Indonesian government to stop sending its citizens to work as domestic workers abroad in five years' time will only work on paper as it does not match market demand from employers, said a Jakarta-based migrant rights group. Indonesia Labour Association head Retno Dewi said while the intention behind the plan is to protect migrant workers from potential abuse, its implementation must be backed with corresponding legislation from receiving countries such as Malaysia.

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Read the original article in full: Concern over 'live-out' maid proposal | The Sun Daily

A proposal from the Indonesian government to stop sending its citizens to work as domestic helpers abroad in five years' time will only work on paper as it does not match market demand from employers, said a Jakarta-based migrant rights group.

Indonesia Labour Association head Retno Dewi said while the intention behind the plan is to protect migrant workers from potential abuse, its implementation must be backed with corresponding legislation from receiving countries such as Malaysia.

She also raised concerns over the increased role of maid agencies, under the proposed plan, in the absence of legislation to protect migrant workers rights.

Indonesian Embassy Labour Attache Agus Triyanto had last week announced the republic's intention to introduce a "live-out" maid system as opposed to a domestic helper.

When contacted by theSun, Agus said the cost to hire an Indonesian helper by 2017 would match the receiving country's minimum wage as they would be recognised as "formal workers" who are employed for one specific task.

Agus said employers would have the option to hire a certified Indonesian cook, caregiver, caretaker, babysitter or housekeeper at national minimum wage, set at RM900 in Malaysia.

"This (proposal) is made based on standards set by the International Labour Organisation which includes fixed working hours and a condition that the worker does not live with their employer," said Agus, adding that the same proposal will be forwarded to all countries employing Indonesian domestic helpers.

He explained that under the proposed plan, maid agencies registered with the Indonesian Embassy here would take over the role of 'employers' and be made responsible for the welfare of their workers.

Retno, however, pointed out that Indonesian migrant workers will not benefit from the proposed plan as employers still have the option of hiring domestic helpers from other neighbouring countries, capable of performing more tasks at a lower cost.

"When the road map to 2017 was presented to the public and receiving countries, it appears as if the Indonesian government plans to abolish the role of domestic helpers, in exchange for formal workers hired for one task.

"The fact remains, however, that the plan only differentiates between specific jobs expected of a domestic helper," Retno told theSun in a recent interview.

Similar concerns were also raised by Migrant Care executive director Alex Ong on the role of maid agencies in the recruitment and placement process.

"This system opens up the possibility of migrant workers being exploited as outsourced labourers by agencies involved in the process," Ong told theSun.

"While the Indonesian government is trying to formalise the process of sending its citizens to work abroad, the proposal does not meet the market demand for domestic helpers."

When asked for a response, Agus said only accredited agencies in Indonesia and local partners registered with its embassies in the receiving countries will be allowed to recruit or place the trained workers.

He said steps are already in place to tighten legislation which governs placement of its citizens abroad, with action already taken against 12 agencies found guilty of exploiting 105 domestic helpers rescued from an agency based in Klang, in December last year.

The prospect of having to hire a live-out maid at a higher cost has not gone down well with Malaysian employers, despite an acute shortage of Indonesian domestic helpers who are the preferred option for most Muslim households.

Agus confirmed that only 204 individuals were employed under the new terms agreed under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Malaysia in 2011 to lift a two-year moratorium imposed following a series of high-profile abuse cases.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) president Engku Fauzi Engku Muhsein said the proposal would be a "real burden" to employers who are looking at a salary of not more than RM700 a month, as agreed under the MoU.

Engku Fauzi said the MoU is still in force and provides a "good guideline" which should be observed by all parties.

"If the cost to hire a live-out maid for only one task is more than RM700, then I might as well find other alternatives where the person can stay with me," said Engku Fauzi, noting that there will come a time when Malaysian households could no longer afford to depend on foreign helpers.

"Our (Mama) role is to monitor and ensure that (maid) agencies do not take advantage of employers (under any situation)," he said.

Engku Fauzi added that he would seek a meeting with relevant authorities to get further details on the proposed plan, with emphasis on its cost and benefit to employers.

Photo:

Adib Rawi/SUNPIX

More information:

  1. Mixed feelings over Indonesia's proposal for 'live-out' maids | The Star
  2. 'This is the first step to being independent' | The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad

Source: Alyaa Alhadjri/The Sun Daily

Story Type: News

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