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BY HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM
PETALING JAYA: Higher wages, recruitment fees and the working hours for Indonesian domestic workers will be the focus of the Malaysia-Indonesia joint working group meeting in Jakarta.
Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia Hermono said other issues such as protection, access to health and communication will also be on the table during the meeting which takes place over today and tomorrow.
Hermono said the proposed package was aimed for the betterment of the domestic workers’ welfare in Malaysia.
In May, Indonesia sent a memorandum to the Government asking for the monthly salary to be raised from the present RM800 to RM1,200.
Hermono said Indonesia was still waiting for an answer from Malaysia on the matter.
Asked if there will be a compromise on the wage proposal, Hermono said there may be but stressed that it had to be looked at as a package.
“It is not just about the salary per se, it is also about the cost of recruitment.
“For example, if Malaysia says the recruitment cost will be lowered, then we are ready to look at other (matters),” he said yesterday.
Hermono said the recruitment fees of RM1,800 was rather high and should be offset by a higher salary. The fees are now deducted from the worker’s salary through monthly payments.
Apart from that, Hermono said some Indonesian domestic workers currently worked more than 10 hours without extra pay.
“Malaysia may argue that the minimum wage for locals is only RM900 but there are fixed working hours.
“When it comes to domestic workers, there is no such thing as fixed working hours.
“We have received reports that some domestic workers labour for more than 10 hours so we need to look into this,” said Hermono.
Asked if Indonesian officials were willing to be flexible, Hermono said officials are willing to reach an agreement as it involves the interest of both countries.
He however said Indonesia was expecting Malaysia to be flexible as well.
Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot asked to wait for the outcome of the joint group meeting.
But he said the RM1,200 proposed wage was rather high.
Source: The Star Online
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