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Market-Based Wage for Migrant Workers Best Solution: Minister

The government says that at a market-based wage for Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia accommodates the interests of all parties.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the East Asia World Economic Forum on Sunday, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said a market-based minimum wage — where conditions are negotiated in the amended Indonesia-Malaysia agreement on the placement of domestic helpers — would lead to higher wages as the market developed.

“The concept enables us to adjust on the [market] condition. If we set the wage at a certain amount now, it would create a problem in the future when the number is no longer suitable, so I think this is a combination of market value and the government’s concern,” Marty said.

The amended memorandum of understanding was signed by Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and his Malaysian counterpart in Bandung last month.

The terms aimed to resolve the thorny issue of the minimum wage — that it not be lower than in Indonesia — and overtime.

The newly signed amendment also regulates that Indonesian migrant workers have the right to retain their passports, a weekly day off, paid annual leave and access to communications.

The agreement lifts a two-year ban for Indonesian migrant workers seeking work as domestic helpers, which was imposed following a string of workers’ abuse cases by their Malaysian employers.

Marty said the moratorium would be lifted once the amended MoU was implemented.

“What we need now is some sort of infrastructure to ensure that the MoU is ready for implementation,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe – www.thejakartaglobe.com