Friday, July 31, 2009

Ministry to resolve maid issue

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Resources Ministry is pushing to resolve the Indonesian maid issue by the end of next month.

Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Malaysia-Indonesia joint working group on maids was expected to meet next month to discuss lifting the temporary maid ban imposed by Indonesia on June 26.

“We will try to resolve the maid issue by the end of August. We want a fair solution for both maids and employers,” he told reporters yesterday.

The upcoming meeting is also expected to review the memorandum of understanding between the two countries on maids to ensure better protection and wage structure.

A meeting was supposed to be held on July 15 but was postponed by Indonesia, he said.

On June 26, Indonesia temporarily banned its citizens from coming to work here as maids after concerns over alleged abuses which were highlighted in the press.

However, those who already paid for the maids were allowed to bring them in.

A meeting took place on July 6 between Dr Subramaniam and his counterpart Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno.

Erman had stated that the ban would be lifted subject to certain issues being resolved.

These include giving maids a day off, which Dr Subramaniam had announced, requiring employers to bank in monthly pay, ensuring better protection against abusive employers and curbing illegal entry of maids.

Dr Subramaniam said the Employment Act would be amended at the end of this year to provide maids with better protection.

“There must be a proper salary system. Now, both parties are accusing each other,” he added.

Separate maid contracts, he said, would also be introduced to cater for maids from different countries.

“Every maid must have a contract which states her salary, working hours, and what benefits the employer will provide. The terms of each memorandum of understanding will be looked at.”

Both sides, Dr Subramaniam said, wanted Indonesians to come here to work as maids given the similar culture.

“Indonesia’s concern is that maids should be treated well. And 99.99% are treated well but we also have to look at the 0.01%,” he added. - The Star

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