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Indonesian embassy urged to lodge police report
A MECHANISM is already in place to handle issues affecting Indonesian maids when a memorandum was signed between Malaysia and the republic, and the latest case of abuse should be referred to the joint working committee.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said Wisma Putra had been directed to liaise with the Indonesian authorities to solve the issue effectively and quickly.
The directive was made following a claim by an Indonesian embassy official, who had wanted maids from the republic to be suspended from going to Malaysia indefinitely after fresh allegations of abuse involving a senior government official and his wife.
The claim was made by Indonesian embassy Information, Social and Cultural Affairs Minister Counsellor Suryana Sastradiredja in the New Sunday Times yesterday.
"A system is already in place to look into such issues and we have agreed to several points, including passports and off days, raised by Indonesia. Then, we have cases of unpaid salaries and accusations... we cannot be 100 per cent perfect.
"If at all there are any issues, they should be submitted to the government to be discussed at the joint working committee," Subramaniam said after opening the Job Career Fair organised by the Special Implementation Task Force of the Cabinet Committee on the Indian Community here yesterday.
A joint declaration on matters pertaining to maids had also been made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono following Subramaniam's meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Erman Suparno, in July 2009.
This led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta in May last year, which included conditions such as a weekly day off for maids, allowing them to keep their passports and their salaries to be determined by market forces.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian embassy would discuss the issue with its foreign minister, Dr Marty Natalegawa, tonight before lodging a police report on allegations of abuse.
"He (Natalegawa) will be in transit at Kuala Lumpur International Airport before leaving for another country for a meeting and the embassy will decide after speaking to him," Suryana said, commenting on another possible moratorium which will inevitably stall the arrival of some 10,000 maids due in Malaysia by the end of next month.
He said the embassy would then arrange to meet with the Foreign Affairs Ministry here, preferably by tomorrow.
Suryana said he was told by one of the abused maids that there were three other maids who had also been abused by the same employer.
Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin said the Indonesian embassy should lodge a police report.
He said police had been impartial and unbiased in investigating cases where Indonesian maids had been abused by their employers.
"We have investigated every single report lodged and, in many cases, the suspects found to have abused their maids were charged in court," Bakri told the New Straits Times.
"If the embassy has information about two maids who were physically abused by a senior government official and his wife, then they should come forward and lodge a police report."