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In limbo over Indonesian maids

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Aug 2009: The uncertainty of getting Indonesian maids is causing much uneasiness among Malaysian women, who work outside the home, who have grown dependent on them.

A random Bernama survey revealed that many women who earn a living outside the home have taken leave to tend to their homes while others are relying on part-time locals to help them out on weekends.

There were others who have enlisted the help of relatives or their friend’s maids to temporarily overcome their predicament before getting their own maid.

Economist Noraini Majid, 39, sums up the frustration of affected homemakers.

“I have already paid all the required fees to a local agent. Yet, I am unable to get a maid because Indonesia has suddenly imposed a temporary ban on the export of its maids.

“What is worse, we are not sure when the ban will be lifted. This uncertainty is really killing (me) because I just cannot plan anything and am now on a long leave to look after my two toddlers,” she said.

Bank employee Roslinda Ahmad said the delay in getting a maid to replace the one who had returned home forced her to use up her annual leave to take care of her two small children.

Just before the ban, she said she had made all the necessary arrangements for a new maid.

Malaysia and Indonesia were supposed to have met on 15 July 2009 to sort things out and lift the ban, but the meeting did not materialise. There has been no indication when the next meeting will be held.

The Indonesian Embassy’s Information, Social and Cultural Affairs Minister, Counsellor Widyarka Ryananta, said the ban was still on.

The ban was put in place, following an outcry over the abuse of Indonesian maids by their Malaysian employers, the latest case involving Siti Hajar who was allegedly tortured by her Malaysian employer on 8 June.

Labour director-general Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim told Bernama the department was not responsible for arranging the meeting as it was under the Home Ministry’s jurisdiction.

“We merely deal with welfare and remuneration of the maids,” he said.

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