Single system for hiring maids in the works, says Saravanan

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia and Malaysia are looking to integrate their systems to develop a single channel for the hiring of domestic helpers under the One Channel System (OCS), says Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan (pic).

Saravanan said nothing in the bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia and Indonesia for the sourcing of domestic helpers stated that the present Maid Online System (SMO) must be scrapped.

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“It is stated in the MOU that the existing system in Indonesia should be used but there was no condition that we have to abolish our existing system,” he said during Minister Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (July 19).

“Yesterday (Monday, July 18) we had a discussion with Indonesia, and we agreed to integrate the existing system, that of the Home Ministry, and the system proposed by Indonesia,” he said.

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The Immigration Department, under the Home Ministry, operates the MOS.

Saravanan was responding to a supplementary question by Anthony Loke (PH-Seremban) on whether scrapping the MOS was part of the agreed terms in the MoU.

Saravanan (BN-Tapah) said Indonesia has suggested a single system which will allow both countries to have details of the applicants.

He said Malaysia has been using the SMO and Indonesia does not have access to the details of their citizens entering Malaysia for employment, adding that some have entered the country under tourist visas.

“Therefore with a single system, they (Indonesian authorities) can also monitor,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that Malaysia is in urgent need of foreign workers.

Saravanan also went on to add that the bilateral MOU is still relevant and reiterated that there was ”confusion”.

He added that on July 12, Indonesia had announced that it would only “postpone” the process of sending workers to Malaysia.

He said the matter was discussed at the joint committee meeting between the Home and Human Resources ministries on July 18.

“The meeting had also agreed for a immediate discussion to be held between the Human Resources Ministry, Home Ministry and Immigration Department as well as the Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia to find an immediate resolution to this problem,” he said.

M Kulasegaran (PH-Ipoh Barat) asked during his supplementary question as to why the government has agreed for a single channel system. He added that this meant the SMO was not effective, saying that the Pakatan Harapan government decided to abolish the system for the same reason.

“It is self-explanatory that the SMO is not working and why is it still being used. This is the shortest lived MOU in Malaysia. Looks like there is no effort by both ministries to find a good direction (to resolve the problem),” he said.

To this, Saravanan briefly said that he would take note of the grouses of his predecessor.

He then added that the ministry has approved the quota for 200,000 foreign workers.

Last week, Indonesia issued a temporary freeze on the sending of migrant workers into Malaysia.

It is understood that Indonesia was not satisfied with Malaysia’s continuous usage of the Sistem Maid Online (SMO) recruitment method to hire maids – which it said was a breach of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both countries in April.