Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Malaysia weighs alternatives amid Jakarta’s maid ban

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia said it could turn to other neighboring countries to recruit maids if Indonesia continues to ban its nationals from coming here to work as domestic helpers.

Indonesian Minister of Labor and Transmigration Erman Suparno said on Thursday his country would stop sending domestic helpers to Malaysia at least until a bilateral meeting next month in Kuala Lumpur to discuss a new migrant worker agreement.

It comes after a 43-year-old Malaysian woman was charged earlier this month with causing grievous bodily harm to an Indonesian woman she employed as a maid, allegedly beating her with a cane and dousing her with boiling water.

But Malaysian Human Resources Minister S. Subramaniam told state media late on Saturday it would have been better had Indonesia explored all avenues of discussion before taking its action.

“If the decision [to temporarily ban maids] is final, then we will decide on the best option available, like looking at the possibility of getting domestic helpers from other ASEAN countries,” he told state news agency Bernama.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged earlier on Saturday that tough action would be taken against anyone abusing Indonesian maids.

Subramaniam said an average of 50 maid abuse cases were reported annually out of the 300,000 Indonesian maids working in Malaysia.

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