Posted on March 17, 2012


English: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Moh...

Malaysian former PM, Tun mahathir Mohamad (left) with former Indonesian President, Soeharto and their wives. Image via Wikipedia

What’s going on? I mean whatever happens to the so-called negotiated settlement about acquiring Indonesian maids between negotiators from both sides of the Selat Melaka. Our Manpower Minister seems surprised with the ridiculous announcement. So it seems. A local Malay language  newspaper has called on the government to find maids elsewhere. And Malaysia can find maids in Southern Thailand, Cambodia or even Mindanao of Muslim origins. Why bother with Indonesia anymore. I wonder whether something was amissed during the negotiations and Malaysia turns out to be the “victim” of an unsettled business. Or are our team of negotiators are “hiding something” or too “dungu” not to see things right and that average Malaysians are not aware of.

An old friend, who was a student in Indonesia late 1960’s is equally surprised. He said, “When I was studying over there  there I employed two maids and the salary I paid them was much less thaan a one-way ticket to Kuala Lumpur. And even then my ticket was on a 50% discounted student rate, using the student travelling scheme. ” He then asks shouldn’t the much talked cooperative efforts by Malaysia-Indonesia bilateral cooperations, like PAPTI (Persatuan Alumni Pendidikan Tinggi Indonesia) which has more than 300 members and the Malaysia-Indonesia journalists association do anything to “harmonize” a win-win settlement.

I remember DBP made a well-gestured proposal to promote Malaysian books in Indonesia in the late 1970s. We learned that the proposal was eagerly anticipated in the beginning but a fews years later problems cropped up one after another and today nobody seems to know what goes on with the arrangment. Well! Manpower Minister, this is a job for you. Don’t you ever fail us, Malaysians, who are forever maid-hungry. You are now being singled out and do not betray our trust. Even some say your NKRA is on the line.

// // PETALING JAYA: It’s ridiculous. Forget Indonesia!

That’s the rallying cry of many employers who are frustrated with the fluid domestic worker situation with the republic.

The last straw was news that the fresh batch of 106 Indonesian maids headed here would only carry out one task for their bosses.

Reacting to the shocking news from Jakarta, employers and the associations involved have called for an end to negotiations with the republic over domestic workers.

“It’s ridiculous. Either we change our lifestyles to live without them or we start hiring from other countries,” Malaysian Maid Employers‘ Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein told The Star yesterday.

It was reported yesterday that the fresh batch of Indonesian maids would be trained in four household chores cooking, babysitting, taking care of the elderly and housekeeping but will provide only one of these tasks for their employers.

The report stated that the workers were undergoing four skills training courses for 21 days and must be paid at least RM700 a month by their Malaysian employers.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Malaysia-Indonesian joint task force for the deployment, placement and protection of Indonesian domestic workers in Jakarta on Thursday.

Indonesia’s Labour Placement Development director-general Dr Reyna Usman had said that the deal concluded by the joint task force was to prevent a recurrence of the problems affecting maids and employers.

Expressing dismay over the decision, Engku Ahmad Fauzi questioned the basis for it and said employers were disappointed over how the matter had been handled.

“The decision has only added to the frustrations of families who have waited so long to resolve their need for domestic help.

“If we need help to cook, clean and look after the children, do we have to hire three maids?” he asked.

Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan described the decision as “extreme”.

Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) acting president Jeffrey Foo said the higher RM700 monthly salary was “illogical” for a maid who would do less work.

“I am sure there are many maids who will agree to multi-task beyond what they are trained to do,” he added. (The Star, 17 March 2012)

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