Indonesian workers who say they have fled abusive employers sit at a shelter at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP)

Indonesian workers who say they have fled abusive employers sit at a shelter at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP)

The Indonesian government will demand a monthly salary of at least Rp 2.3 million (RM 800) for its domestic helpers, an increase from the monthly RM 400-500, in a bilateral meeting to be held in Jakarta on September 5, 2009.

The remarks were made by Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Da’i Bachtiar during a break the fast gathering with some 400 Indonesian migrant workers at his office here Thursday. His servants received RM400 – 500 per month, but since March 2009, their wages had been raised to RM 600 per month under an extended employment period.

Any Malaysian employer wishing to have their domestic helpers’ employment extended for another year or two, will be obliged to pay their domestic helpers at least RM 600 a month. “Otherwise we will not extend their work contracts,” the one-time Indonesian chief of police said.

But in the upcoming meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia will demand a monthly salary of RM 800 per month for Indonesian domestic helpers. Indonesia and Malaysia will have a bilateral meeting to revise their 2006 MoU on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian informal workers in Malaysia.

Two weeks ago the Indonesia-Malaysia working group had negotiations in Putrajaya producing several deals, including the Malaysian employers agreeing that passports are held by their domestic helpers who also will be entitled to a day off each week, regular wage increases, no individually recruitment, revision of cost structure, and the need for a task force to monitor the implementation of bilateral agreements and the revised MoU.

“As long as no agreements had been reached, and to be followed by the siging of an MoU or new contract on protection of Indonesian domnestic helpers in Malaysia, the decision to stop the dispatch of domestic helpers to Malaysia would not be revoked,” Indonesian chief delegate Arief Havas Oegroseno said recently.

Indonesia stopped sending domestic helpers to Malaysia on June 25, 2009 prompted by the rough handling of domestic helpers Siti Hajar and Modesta. KOMPAS