50,000 Indonesian Maids to arrive from mid-January


By Lim Wey Wen

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Putrajaya: Some 50,000 Indonesian maids are due to arrive in Malaysia from mid-January after the lifting of the moratorium on their employment on Dec 1..Labour director-general Datuk Sheikh Yahya Sheikh Mohamed said the delay was due to the compulsory 200-hour training (about a month) they had to undergo before they can work in Malaysia. "According to our Indonesian counterpart, 50,000 maids are prepared to work here," Sheikh Yahya said yesterday. The one-off agency fee to recruit an Indonesian maid is now set atRM4,511, of which RM2,711 has to be paid by the employer and the remaining RM1,800 by the maid. The recruitment fee was not fixed before, and could be high as RM8,000. To protect the interests of the maids and their employers, he said all parties involved in the recruitment must abide by the conditions that leaders and the Joint Task Forces of the two countries had agreed to. "Only private recruitment agencies that are registered with the Immigration Department and which had agreed to abide by these conditions are allowed to recruit maids from Indonesian," said Sheikh Yahya. So far, he added, only 121 of over 400 recruitment agencies registered in Malaysia had agreed to the conditions, mostly due to disagreement on the new agency fee. The agencies will be listed on the Labour Department's portal after Dec.1 Sheikh Yahya reiterated that the authorities would act against recruitment agencies or employers breaking the rules. Recruitment agencies will have their licences suspended after the first offence, and revoked upon the second. Employers who use their maids for purposes other than domestic work may be charged under the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act, which carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years and maximum fine of RM1mil.