MANILA, Philippines – Indonesian President Joko Widodo last Friday said he wants the country to stop sending its women to work abroad as household service workers (HSW) or maids.
“I have given (the) Manpower Minister a target to come up with a clear roadmap on when we can stop sending female domestic workers. We should have pride and dignity,” he said in a speech last Friday, as reported by The Straits Times.
Widodo had just come back from visiting Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.
He admitted he was ashamed when discussing the issue of Indonesian maids with Malaysia’s government.
“There are only three countries in the world supplying domestic workers, two are in Asia and one in Africa. One of those in Asia is Indonesia. This is a matter of dignity. It was really shameful (speaking about this) during our bilateral with Malaysia,” he said.
He did not mention the Philippines, although the country is a well-known supplier of household service workers throughout Asia and the Middle East.
The Indonesian president said there are around 2.3 million Indonesians working abroad, mostly in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, maid agency associations have already warned that there may be a shortage of domestic helpers, following Indonesia’s plans.
Some agencies said Malaysia said they may have to source more domestic helpers from other countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.