March 4, 2003

Malaysia to turn to other countries for maids

CYBERJAYA March 3 - Malaysia will look to other countries to source for domestic maids following the Indonesian government's decision to stop sending maids to the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Monday.
"(Since) they don't want to send, we have to turn to other places. What can we do if they don't want to send (maids) anymore? Surely, there are other countries that may be able to supply the workers," he said.
He said this at a press conference at the launching of the National Landscape Day at Taman Tasik Cyberjaya here.
"That is a mistake. Maybe it is because there were certain incidents as reported in their (Indonesian) newspapers leading to such a conclusion," he said when asked on Indonesia's statement that abuse of maids was the reason for them to stop sending such workers.
"I believe we Malaysians are not cruel. We do not have maids (among locals), so we find others to work as maids; we hire them, so why would we do that (abuse them) when we need them?" said Abdullah, who is also the Home Minister.
Asked on the new Sabah Chief Minister, he said the name would be announced soon.
"Just be patient for a while. Don't listen to rumours. I'm sure the announcement will be made soon," he said.
The two-year term of Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat under the rotation system will end this March 27.
IN a related development, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn on Monday said all cases of grievances and abuse against Indonesian maids will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
"Over the past few years, problems associated with housemaids have been resolved," he told reporters in KUALA LUMPUR.
Dr Fong was responding to a news report Monday that Indonesia had temporarily frozen employment of its citizens as housemaids in Malaysia and several other countries following widespread cases of abuse.
"We will take serious action against any case of abuse and will abide by the decisions of the court," he said.
Dr Fong also said all workers including foreign maids were protected under the law.