Malaysia hopes Indonesia will reconsider a proposal by Jakarta's ambassador to stop sending domestic workers to the country, amid a backlash following the shocking death of a young Indonesian woman after alleged abuse by her employers.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he would be meeting Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri in the near future to look at the best possible solution to prevent maid abuse cases.
"We express deep regret if the media report about Indonesia intending to stop sending its domestic workers to the country due to the isolated maid abuse case is true," Datuk Seri Zahid, who is also Home Minister, was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.
"In fact, we know that we have certain standard operating procedures that must be adhered to by employers, and the Malaysian government will never protect any employers who are found to have acted cruelly (against their maids)," he added.
Ms Adelina Lisao, 21, died after she was apparently not given medical aid while working at a semi-detached house in Penang. She was seen by witnesses to have been sleeping on a mat in the porch beside a rottweiler.
Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi last week told Malaysia that she demands justice for Ms Adelina, who was from East Nusa Tenggara province.
Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Rusdi Kirana said President Joko Widodo is on board with the idea of halting the recruitment of Indonesian domestic workers by Malaysia, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
Mr Rusdi was quoted as saying that he proposed halting sending domestic workers to Malaysia and working on restructuring the employment administration process.
"A moratorium is important so we can restructure our (migrant workers) employment system to prevent cases such as Adelina's from happening again," he told reporters.
There are 250,000 women working as maids in Malaysia, mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, more than a hundred relatives and supporters of a Filipino maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait brandished banners demanding justice as her coffin was returned home yesterday, Agence France-Presse reports.
The family of Ms Joanna Demafelis wept openly as the white casket was unloaded at an airport cargo terminal in the central city of Iloilo.