By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The Indonesian Embassy has said the maids who arrived in Malaysia in May are not part of the first batch to return since the ban was lifted in December last year, the Sin Chew Daily reported today.
On June 2009, Indonesia had imposed a ban on sending its citizens to work as maids in Malaysia after numerous reports of abuse and mistreatment by employers.
An Indonesian Embassy spokesman told Sin Chew that it did not aware of the 29 maids who arrived in Malaysia, stressing that it had not issued “demand letters” or “job orders” for them.
“We understand that these 29 maids came as the result of agreements between maid agencies and the Indonesian local government. They did not come to Malaysia through the Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Ministry,” she said yesterday, adding that the Embassy is awaiting a response from the Ministry on this matter.
She cited Indonesian media reports where Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said the country has yet to start sending maids to Malaysia.
Malaysian Association of Employment Agencies (PIKAP) had said that the “first batch” of Indonesian maids will land at the KL International Airport (KLIA) next Monday, and that Indonesian Embassy representatives are expected to be present.
When pressed on when the second batch would arrive, the Embassy spokesperson said, “The first batch has not been sent to Malaysia, where would the second batch come [from]?”
But Malaysia’s Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam insisted that the 29 maids are here legally, saying they have received their permits and started work.
He told Sin Chew: “The Indonesian minister may be unclear about this matter, maybe the officers did not inform him.”
In June, Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo was reported as saying that Indonesian maids were allowed to return to the country to work after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries last year.
The MoU contained terms to safeguard the welfare of Indonesian maids, especially in relation to pay and workload.
Jeffrey also said that Papa had received 3,000 applications for maids from local employers.