Jakarta ban on maids to Singapore


INDONESIA has suspended the sending of maids to Singapore indefinitely.

A senior government official here said the move was aimed at sending a signal to agents and employers in Singapore to be more mindful of Indonesian workers’ welfare.

The national Antara news agency quoted the director-general of Labour Placement, Mr Din Syamsuddin, as saying that he had in fact ordered local firms in September this year to stop sending maids to the Republic “until workers’ rights and protection were made clear”.

But despite this, some maids were still making their way to Singapore from Batam island and the Riau province, he said.

Mr Din, who was in Singapore last week over the matter, acknowledged that some maids might not have been prepared for their jobs because of poor training, language and cultural differences.

Indeed, Jakarta recognised this last year and said that arrangements would be made to train those who work overseas.

Observers here said the decision to ban them from working in Singapore indefinitely, while assuaging local sentiments, could mean that Indonesia could lose valuable foreign exchange in these hard times.

“The Indonesian government does not have the luxury of talking about worker standards in the middle of its worst-ever economic crisis,” said one analyst.

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