Maid agencies here cool to Jakarta's plan to curb workers
THERE could be a dearth of female Indonesian workers in Singapore - including maids - if Indonesia goes ahead with plans to end its practice of sending female workers overseas in five years.
However, some maid agencies in Singapore said they would not be too badly affected as they would look to other countries.
Indonesia Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said on Friday that the government was planning to stop sending female workers abroad by creating more job opportunities in the country, The Jakarta Globe reported.
He said that many women in Indonesia work overseas as the job prospects in the country were limited. However, in doing so, many female Indonesians were mentally and physically abused.
Mr Kalla said that "we will end all of this" bad treatment of female workers and that in five years, "we must (stop sending them) abroad". He was speaking at a women's organisation's conference.
As for creating job opportunities in Indonesia, Mr Kalla believed that agriculture was a primary area to look into, with light industrial work being the next.
His comments come after a British bank executive allegedly murdered two young Indonesian women in his apartment in Hong Kong.
There have also been many reports of female Indonesian maids being abused in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.
Things are not rosy for migrant workers when they return to Indonesia, either.
Security and immigration officers extort from 400 to 500 Indonesian migrant workers daily, estimated Migrant Care, a group that fights for the rights of Indonesian migrant workers.
Several maid agencies which Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News spoke to said that the planned moves by the Indonesian government would have an impact on maid recruitment, but it may not be huge as they could source from other countries such as the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
Maids from South Asia and other South-east Asian countries can be cheaper to recruit than those from Indonesia by 40 to 60 per cent, Winnie Wang, founder of Advance Link International, told Shin Min.
But these maids have more trouble adjusting to Singapore than Indonesian ones.
Mrs Wang said agencies can spend about $3,000 to recruit and train an Indonesian maid.
However, she said that compared with maids from other countries, they are less likely to have problems after they have been trained.