PETALING JAYA: Employers hope that an amicable agreement between Malaysia and Indonesia will soon be reached to pave the way for a new memorandum of understanding on domestic workers to be signed next month.

While Indonesia is a major labor source country, Malaysian employers are calling on the Indonesian government to also consider the rights of employers, who have overcome many legal hurdles over the years just to employ Indonesian workers. .

Many employers have expressed concern over the news that Indonesia will not provide new labor to Malaysia if the Memorandum of Understanding on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic workers does not materialize. in February.

A housewife and business owner who only wanted to be known as Wan, 59, said she needed a maid to help with the housework and to look after from his 82-year-old mother.

“I’ve had my fair share of problems with the maids over the past 20 years. Some ran away after I paid the agency thousands of dollars, and some refused to work and just played with their phones.

“I also had maids who, before returning to Indonesia, secretly took my things like clothes, old gadgets or jewelry that they didn’t think I would notice.

“It’s a big headache to be an employer but I have no choice, I need help cleaning and taking care of my 82 year old mother because my back is not very good condition and I can’t do heavy housework.

“So I really hope that the Indonesian and Malaysian governments can find an amicable solution, without putting aside the rights of employers like me, who have spent so much money, time and effort to hire workers. Indonesians and ensure that their well-being and needs are taken care of,” she said.

After her last maid returned home late last year, Wan said she was looking everywhere for a long-term housekeeper, but had yet to find anyone who could fit. engage in long-term employment.

As Wan no longer has a servant, she has managed by “borrowing” servants from her neighbors and friends for work and paying them on an hourly basis, between 20 and 25 RM an hour.

“Costs are rising every week, but we have been unable to legally hire a domestic worker or maid overseas, and those we have been able to settle so far are all short-term.

She considered transferring an existing helper who works legally for another household to her job, which is a legal alternative for Malaysian employers who want to hire helpers.

However, Wan ultimately decided against it as she was informed that it would cost tens of thousands of ringgits due to the shortage of maids and high demand from other employers.

Like many other Malaysian Muslims, Wan preferred Indonesian or local servants due to ease of language communication and religious reasons, but noted that it was also difficult to find a Malaysian who would work as a long-term domestic helper. term.

Another employer who only wanted to be known as Tan, 73, hoped the plight of those who had been waiting for years to hire housekeepers would be given serious consideration as the freeze on domestic hires put in place place during the pandemic had disrupted the lives of employers.

He said if the memorandum of understanding with Indonesia fails, the shortage of housekeepers in Malaysia will continue as the country also does not allow housekeepers from other source countries such as the Philippines to enter. for no good reason.

“As an employer, we don’t want to be exploitative. I hope the Indonesian government will take this into consideration and remember that Malaysia already has many strict rules and regulations, laws and also high fees for employers to hire foreign domestic helpers.

“There are enough laws in place to protect both parties, in my opinion,” said the 73-year-old retiree.

He added that the government should also consider allowing maids from the Philippines to enter as the government had no problem sending their workers here if Malaysia were to open its borders to them.

“An interim measure is absolutely necessary. Nothing prevents Filipinos from coming, so why can’t they come? »