Associations and support organisations representing migrant and local domestic workers in the country have called for more transparency in the upcoming memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be inked between Malaysia and Indonesia next month, voicing particular concern over the recruitment fee for bringing in foreign workers.
In a statement, umbrella body Kearah 189 described the stated fee per worker of RM10,000 to RM15,000 including levies and quarantine costs as “excessive”.
“This cost was not even provided in a detailed cost structure, and it left the question of who is going to bear this amount,” it said.
“The excessive fee for hiring domestic workers makes them more vulnerable to exploitative practices.”
Calling for the recruitment fee to be set at a reasonable figure, it said both Malaysia and Indonesia must ensure that the cost does not fall on the workers themselves.
An MoU between Malaysia and Indonesia was signed for the first time on May 13, 2006, with protocol to amend the agreement inked on May 31, 2011. This expired on May 30, 2016.
Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said on Jan 10 that the ongoing talks between the two countries were, among others, to control the cost of bringing in domestic helpers.
He denied that the cost of bringing in domestic workers would reach RM25,000, adding that the RM1,136 payment for the first-time recruitment of foreign domestic workers only involved the immigration cost.
Kearah 189 said transparency was essential in the setting up of the recruitment fee under the new MoU.
“Kearah 189 is well aware of the dangers of high recruitment fees and their effect on the amount of work that will be required of a worker,” it said.
“Transparency will allow the governments to hear the views of the parties concerned. We believe that in this manner the interests of the workers can be heard.”