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Jakarta, Manila concerned over Saudi maid ban

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  • sunny
    Refleksi : Dengan lain kata mau dibilang tanpa Arab Saudia kalian tidak ada jalan keluar untuk menampung tenaga kerja di dalam negeri.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1 1:35 PM
      Refleksi : Dengan lain kata mau dibilang tanpa Arab Saudia kalian tidak ada jalan keluar untuk menampung tenaga kerja di dalam negeri.


      Jakarta, Manila concerned over Saudi maid ban

      Published: Jun 30, 2011 23:39 Updated: Jun 30, 2011 23:39

      RIYADH: Senior Indonesian and Philippine officials have expressed concern over the Kingdom's decision to ban recruitment of domestic workers, which has put a question mark on the fate of thousands of prospective migrant workers and those whose Saudi work visas are ready to be processed.

      The ban has also left the officials and diplomats of the two countries in limbo with doors closed for further negotiations, at least for the time being.

      "The Indonesian government has earmarked a budget to help its stranded workers and has taken steps to create more job opportunities for them inside the country," said Hendrar Pramutyo, a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy. Pramutyo told Arab News that he is also concerned about the fate of a third Indonesian maid who might be executed on July 3, if reports appearing in a section of the Indonesian media are to be believed.

      He said that he was desperately trying to contact Saudi officials to find out the truth behind the reports of the imminent beheading of Sumartini binti Manaungi Galisung, 33, from West Nusa Tenggara. The news of the impending execution was reported Thursday in a Twitter post by House Legal Commission member Eva Kusuma Sundari. According to the reports, Sumartini is to be executed in Riyadh. She was sentenced to death after being accused of using black magic on the son of her employer, causing the latter's death.

      Asked about the Saudi ban on work permits for Indonesian domestic workers, Pramutyo said that Jakarta was making "serious efforts" to minimize adverse effects of the ban. Indonesia has announced a moratorium on sending workers to Saudi Arabia from Aug. 1, he pointed out, adding that it seeks some protection measures in place for its workers before the ban is lifted. Jakarta had also asked the Kingdom to endorse an MoU, which guarantees adequate protection to Indonesian workers.

      "The Saudi ban will create a lot of problems for poor Indonesian workers," said Indonesian recruitment agent Majid Kurniawan.

      According to data from Bank Indonesia, 58,335 workers were sent to Saudi Arabia in April this year. The number of Indonesian workers sent to the Kingdom in 2010 totaled 228,890.

      On the other hand, senior Philippine officials were a bit surprised by the Saudi decision to halt work permits for Filipino domestic workers. Albert Q. Valenciano, labor attache at the Philippine Embassy, said the embassy had earlier requested the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hold a joint meeting to negotiate the issues affecting relations in the manpower sector. But, the Kingdom imposed the ban, he added

      Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have clashed in the past over the working conditions of domestic workers. Earlier this year the Philippines asked Saudi Arabia to guarantee higher pay for housemaids but the request was turned down. Under Philippine law, overseas Filipino workers must sign contracts that offer a minimum wage equivalent to $400 a month, but Saudi authorities insist on $210, or about SR780 a month.

      Now Manila is trying to locate job opportunities in other countries, mainly in Australia and Canada, said an official in Manila on Thursday. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that the government is now exploring to take advantage of the "labor shortage" in Australia and Canada. The Philippine labor attachés in those countries are currently in talks with some officials there to "match the labor demand with labor supply," she said.

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