PETALING JAYA - Malaysia and Indonesia will meet at the end of the month to thrash out matters following Jakarta's push for minimum pay for its maids from RM800 (S$295) to RM1,200.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said a joint working group meeting was held between officials from both sides in mid-May but no decision was made.
They are expected to resolve the issues in a meeting this month.
Salaries for domestic workers, a lightning rod for both sides, surfaced last Friday when Bernama quoted Indonesian Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission Hermono as saying that his country had submitted proposals to Malaysia to consider improving the working conditions of Indonesian maids.
Michael Heah, who is the CEO of Penang-based employment agency Inter Maids, suggested legalising live-out maids to meet the demand for domestic help.
This would also take the bargaining chip away from the source countries, he said.
"The Government should allow domestic workers to be sent to households and provide day help.
"Now that Indonesia wants to increase the wages for its domestic workers, we can expect the Philippines to do the same soon," said Heah, who has been in the business for 13 years.
Explaining the concept of the live-out domestic workers, he said the system would be the same as the cleaning teams that go to factories or offices for a few hours every day.
"Many Malaysian homes only need a maid for a few hours. Live-out maids are perfect for them.
"By legalising live-out maids through eligible employment agencies, we would be able to use foreign domestic workers to serve a wider market," he said.
At present, he said Malaysia only had work permits for foreign domestic workers who stay in their employers' homes.