KUALA LUMPUR: The "uncertainty'' in getting Indonesian maids is causing uneasiness among local working women who have grown dependent on them.
A survey revealed that many working women had taken leave to tend to their homes while others opted for part-time local maids to help them out during weekends.
There were others who had enlisted the help of relatives or maids of friends to temporarily overcome their predicament before getting their own help.
Economist Noraini Majid, 39, sums up the frustration of affected housewives.
"I have paid all the required fees to a local agent. Yet I am unable to get a maid because Indonesia has suddenly imposed a temporary ban on the export of its maids.
"What is worse is that we are not sure when the ban will be lifted. This uncertainty is really killing (me) because I just cannot plan anything and am now on long leave to look after my two toddlers," she said.
Bank employee Roslinda Ahmad said the delay in getting a maid to replace the one who had returned home forced her to use up her annual leave to take care of her two young children.
Just before the imposition of the ban, she said, she had made all the necessary arrangements for a new maid.
Officials from Malaysia and Indonesia were to have met on July 15 to sort things out and lift the ban, but the meeting did not materialise.
There has been no indication when the next meeting would be scheduled.
The Indonesian embassy's Information, Social and Cultural Affairs Minister Counsellor Widyarka Ryananta, said the ban was still on.
The ban was put in place following an outcry over the abuse of Indonesian maids by their Malaysian employers, the latest case involving Siti Hajar who was allegedly tortured by her Malaysian employer on June 8.
Meanwhile, Labour director-general Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim said the department was not responsible for arranging the meeting as it was under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry.
"We merely deal with welfare and remuneration of the maids," he said. -- Bernama