Indonesian President Joko Widodo Urged An End To The Export Of Domestic Workers To Malaysia

February 17, 2015 News

indonesian maidMalaysian foreign maid agencies are making contingency preparations, as Indonesian President Joko Widodo calls on his country to cut overseas maid supply.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies said it is prepared for the worst, after Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged an end to the export of domestic workers.

President Widodo instructed the Indonesian Manpower Ministry to evaluate the export of domestic helpers, a move that could have serious ramifications on Malaysia’s domestic worker industry, given 60 per cent of its workers are Indonesian.

His government also vowed to create more job opportunities at home, so that citizens will not have to find employment overseas. Mr Widodo said the evaluation could take up to 12 months.

“If Indonesia is serious about not sending the workers overseas, especially female workers working as domestic workers, then of course, if that’s the case, we will have to swallow it and will have to accept that,” said Jeffrey Foo, President of the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (PAPA).

“In the meantime, we are already in the midst of looking elsewhere to supplement the shortfall of domestic workers in Malaysia. We’re already looking into Nepal, into Bangladesh, into Myanmar. And also there is a very strong possibility the Cambodian domestic workers will be coming back to Malaysia again. So we have a good cushion,” he added.

Mr Widodo made his first state visit to Malaysia in early February, where he was greeted by thousands of expatriate Indonesians, many of whom used his visit to share their sorrowful tales of life away from home. Having heard their grievances, President Jokowi, as he is affectionately known, urged his country to stop sending its women overseas as domestic workers.

“Many workers here (are) not documented and then have no proper salary, proper time to eat when they’re working, and some of them runaway. That makes the sadness of Pak Jokowi,” said Indonesia Ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno.

According to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, only 4,000 Indonesians employed as domestic helpers entered the country’s workforce through proper channels. This is compared to some 100,000 Indonesian maids who had found jobs in Malaysia illegally.

If Indonesia eventually decides to stop its women from working as domestic helpers overseas, it would not be the first time. In 2009, the Indonesian government temporarily suspended the placement of domestic workers in Malaysia. Indonesian nationals are also prohibited from working as maids in the Middle East.