Malaysia and Indonesia will review the cost of hiring domestic Indonesian workers to determine a more reasonable rate, says Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar.
He said the reduction in the cost of recruitment would be discussed at the two-day joint working group meeting in Yogjakarta which begins Wednesday.
"At the moment, we feel that the fees (cost) borne by employers are quite high compared to other countries that set prices at a minimum level.
"We want to see if we can find an amicable solution and if the cost can be reduced," he said.
Sivakumar said he hoped the cost could be brought down to under RM9,000 compared to the RM12,000 decided on at the last meeting in November 2022, inclusive of the quarantine cost of RM3,000.
"To have zero cost is impossible because there are costs involved, including in Malaysia, but we look at what is the best mechanism to reduce the cost," he said to reporters after a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Ida Fauziyah.
Sivakumar was in Indonesia for a one-day working visit following Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's visit on Jan 8.
He and Ida Fauziyah also discussed efforts to realise the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on the recruitment and protection of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia, signed on April 1, 2022.
Sivakumar said the joint working group meeting would also discuss the role of private employment agencies in both countries in the recruitment process, accommodation for workers, as well as the digitalisation of the recruitment process through the one-channel system.
As of Jan 22, 2023, there were 399,827 Indonesian workers in Malaysia in the manufacturing, construction, services, agriculture, domestic workers, mining and quarrying sectors.
Of the total, 63,323 worked as domestic workers. Indonesians represent the largest number in the sector in Malaysia.