Published: Friday January 22, 2010 MYT 2:02:00 PM
Timor Leste wants to send maids to Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR: Timor Leste is exploring the possibility of sending domestic maids to Malaysia, its Ambassador Juvencio Da Jesus Martins said Friday.
He said an employment agency here met him recently to propose bringing in maids from his country as there was a high demand for foreign maids in Malaysia.
Martins said he would inform the Timor Leste government of the proposal.
“This involves approvals from the two governments. I am going to raise the matter with my government and if there is a green light from Dili, we will try to discuss the matter with the Malaysian government,” he told Bernama.
In fact, he said, the matter was first mooted in 2005 during discussions between the then Timor Leste foreign minister and current president, Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta, with former Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on the possibility of sending about 10,000 domestic maids to Malaysia.
“However, there was no progress on the matter after that. But I think the matter is still relevant as there is still high demand, especially from non-Muslim families, for maids in this country,” he said.
Malaysia currently employs about 320,000 legal foreign maids, mostly from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. But the problem in sourcing maids occurred after the Indonesian government stopped sending maids to Malaysia in June, 2009.
The former Portuguese colony, which gained independence in May 2002, has about a 1.2 million population, comprising 98% Christians, with the rest being Muslims and Buddhists.
“Since there are also Muslims in Timor Leste, we can also identify Muslim maids for Malaysian Muslim families. If we can get all the approvals, Malaysia will be the first country for our maids going overseas,” Martins said.
He said that there would be many benefits if maids were sourced from Timor Leste. These included the distance between the two countries, similar languages as they can speak in Indonesian and English which are the working languages there, and reasonable wages.
“Besides that, by providing employment to our people, it will help in reducing the unemployment rate in our country. The remittances will help our economy and those recruited as maids will also gain experience,” he said. -- Bernama
Source: the star online