In about five years’ time, Singapore households may no longer be able to hire foreign domestic workers from Indonesia.
The Indonesian government is considering ending the practice of sending female workers overseas as it said many of them suffer mental and physical abuse while working overseas. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla was reported by the Jakarta Globe to have said this last Friday (Nov 21).
As Indonesians make up about 70 per cent of the 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore, maid agencies in the Republic have expressed concern.
Ms Winnie Wang, overseas recruitment senior adviser for Advance Link International, said: “I think, at the beginning, employers of foreign maids will definitely be affected. The advantages of getting an Indonesian maid are firstly, there is no language barrier. Most of the maids from Indonesia are trained to speak English.
“Moreover, they speak Bahasa Indonesia, which is welcomed by most Singapore employers because they can speak some Malay also, so there is no communication breakdown.”
Meanwhile, maid agencies said that Singapore is currently not the ideal overseas destination for many Indonesian women as higher salaries are offered in other places like Hong Kong and Taiwan.
To meet the demand for foreign domestic workers in Singapore, the Manpower Ministry launched a pilot project last August that aims to bring in 400 workers from Cambodia. Since then, only 350 workers have been brought in.
Mr Ronnie Toh, an employment consultant with A C Toh Enterprises, said: “We do need a lot of these Cambodian maids but the shortage of the maids, I think, is due to the supplier over in Phnom Penh, in Cambodia itself. I think they should open the market for more suppliers.”