A joint committee comprising Malaysia’s Human Resource Ministry and Indonesia’s Manpower and Transmigration Ministry will be formed to review all the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on migrant workers signed by both countries.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the committee, to be formed soon, would update the MoUs’ signed in the last 11 years so as to be in tune with current developments.

“One issue is of course the fee (paid to employment agencies). According to them, the fee stated (in the MoU), which is around RM3,000, is outdated. In practice too, nobody’s following the fee structure which we had agreed upon.

“We have to hear the proposals from the Indonesian agencies and we will make a reasonable decision. If we need to amend certain things, we will do so on consensus,” he told reporters after Indonesia’s Manpower and Transmigration Minister Dr Erman Suparno called on him at his office, here, Friday.

Dr Subramaniam said the content of the MoU would not be overhauled but only the figures with regards to the fee and wages, for instance, would be changed.

According to the official records, there are about 2.2 million migrant workers in Malaysia, and out of this figure, 1.12 are Indonesians.

Dr Subramaniam said at the meeting with Dr Erman, he also explained the issue of migrant workers’ passports being kept by their employers for security reasons.

He said his ministry was in the final stage of drawing up a guideline on the matter, which among others, “states that if an employer wishes to keep his worker’s passport, there must be an official agreement between both parties and the employer is responsible for renewing the work permit, visa or passport, and will be fined if he fails to do so”.

Dr Subramaniam said his Indonesian counterpart was also informed of the amendments to the Employment Act 1955 and Workmen’s Compensation Act 1952, with provisions which included protecting the rights of migrant workers, besides discussing with Dr Erman on strengthening cooperation to check the entry and presence of illegals in Malaysia.