Jakarta lifts ban on Indonesian maids working in Malaysia

Jakarta said it will lift its ban on Indonesian maids working in Malaysia from December 1.

The ban, already in place for two and a half years, has resulted in a shortage of domestic helpers in Malaysia.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced this at the end of its annual joint consultation with Malaysia in Lombok on Thursday.

He said both sides have agreed to give protection and assistance to the domestic workers.

Prior to the ban, there were more than 300,000 foreign workers from neighbouring Indonesia working as domestic helpers in Malaysia. Today, according to industry statistics, the number has shrunk to less than 200,000.

For the many Malaysian households still on the wait list, many hope to see light at the end of the tunnel with the scheduled lifting of the moratorium on December 1.

Employment agencies lost millions of dollars, as a result of the ban imposed in 2009. The money had been paid to their counterparts in Indonesia to source and train maids to work in Malaysia.

Jeff Foo, Acting President of the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies, said: “We are losing a lot of money because we have paid a lot of deposits, in the region of millions of ringgit – couple millions or three, four, five millions of ringgit to our counterparts overseas. We have suffered losses when the issue of Indonesian maids came into play.

“Then now, it’s the Cambodian ban. So our members are in a very, very serious situation if this ban is not lifted soon. A lot of them will have to fold up their business. That would affect the supply of foreign housemaids in Malaysia.

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