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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                    29  September 2011

Indonesia limits maids to four countries

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Indonesian domestic helpers will only be allowed in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a Manpower and Transmigration Ministry official said. "The Ministry has conducted a comprehensive evaluation of countries as destinations of Indonesian domestic helpers.

"Based on the results of the evaluation, we have come to the conclusion that only four countries can be categorized as destinations of Indonesian domestic helpers," its Labour Placement director-general Reyna Usman was quoted by ANTARA news agency.

The plan to limit the number of destination countries was made after the ministry had studied the destination countries' policies on the protection of Indonesian migrant workers and the fulfillment of their normative rights, Reyna said.

Compared to other destination countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan had better policies and rules to protect migrant workers, he said.

"The number of violent acts against Indonesian migrant workers in the two countries is getting lower. The problems facing Indonesian migrant workers there mostly deal with work contracts, underpaid salaries, delinquent labour placement agencies and so on," he said.

Malaysia is the largest destination of Indonesian domestic helpers because of linguistic and cultural similarities.

Where Malaysia was concerned, Reyna said, the government was planning to improve the quality of domestic helpers and tighten the selection of employers.

"The joint task force will seriously safeguard the MoU we have signed (with Malaysia). Both sides have agreed on the jointly formulated placement scheme to enable them to facilitate the placement of Indonesian migrant workers, particularly with regard to the protection of Indonesia migrant workers employed in Malaysia," he said.

He said the negotiations with Saudi Arabia were very conducive and the Saudi government was quite responsive to constructive efforts proposed by Indonesia.

"Saudi Arabia is still the best destination among Middle Eastern countries. Our task is to reduce the number of problems, particularly violence," he said.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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