PETALING JAYA - Recruitment agencies say the stalemate in the supply of Indonesian maids to Malaysia will end now that they are empowered to determine the cost of hiring these domestic workers.
However, the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) concedes that the cost of employing them "will likely go up".
Papa president Jeffrey Foo said: "Issues with pricing have always been the main hindrance in bringing in maids. The Government tried to control the pricing but the Indonesian agencies are still reluctant to supply the maids to us because they felt it was not worth it as they thought the price was too low.
"This has been delayed for too long. Allowing us to come up with a new MoU is an opportunity to finally end the deadlock."
On Dec 1, 2011, Malaysia and Indonesia signed an MoU to lift the moratorium on the supply of Indonesian domestic workers which was imposed in June 2009.
The MoU set the cost to recruit Indonesian maids at RM4,511 (S$1,742) - with RM2,711 to be paid by the employer and RM1,800 by the domestic helper.
In January last year, Papa announced that the Government had given it the green light to raise recruitment fees for Indonesian domestic workers to RM6,700.
In July, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Government would set the hiring fee at RM8,000.
Since the MoU was signed in 2011, only 660 Indonesian maids had been brought into Malaysia, said Foo.
"If it is up to us, we would want to maintain the cost at its current rate.
"However, we will have to negotiate with our counterparts in Indonesia before the final decision can be made," he said.
Asosiasi Perusahaan Jasa Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (Apjati) said there is still a possibility that the price would not be raised.
"As long as the governments leave it to us, we are confident that through negotiations and the MoU, we will be able to resolve the issues and increase the supply of domestic workers to Malaysia," he said when contacted.