KUWAIT CITY, Sept 25: Indonesian Minister of Labor Muhaimin Iskandar recently instructed Indonesians planning to work as maids in Malaysia, Kuwait and Jordan to suspend the processing of their papers until the governments of these countries guarantee their safety, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
Iskandar issued the decision at a time when the domestic labor file is still pending at the Kuwaiti Parliament, while the government has yet to announce its stand on the step taken by its Indonesian counterpart.
Meanwhile, sources said the official spokesperson of the Indonesian Embassy in Kuwait is expected to hold a press conference soon to clarify the issue, especially since the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered its mission to stop sending Indonesian maids to Kuwait.
According to the latest statistical report, there are about 75,000 Indonesian workers in Kuwait.
Sources confirmed the concerned officials at the Ministry of Interior have been holding a series of meetings with the embassies of countries sending household workers to Kuwait to highlight the steps taken by the Kuwaiti authorities to protect their rights.
Meanwhile, MP Mubarak Al-Waalan asked the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to explain why the Indonesian government stopped sending its citizens to Kuwait to work as housemaids and added that “the issue is a blot on Kuwait’s image, especially since only Kuwait out of all Gulf countries has been singled out,” reports Al-Seyassah daily.
Sources say Al-Waalan called the Indonesian government’s concerns unfounded as Kuwait is known for upholding Islamic and humanitarian values and said that even if there were transgressions, they are individual cases and therefore, it is not right to hold the whole country responsible.
The lawmaker blamed the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor for the problems related to domestic servants and added that if nothing positive is done to address the situation and redeem the good image of the country, a time will come when no nation will allow its citizens to work in Kuwait and then Kuwaitis would bear the full brunt of the matter.
In a related development, the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Indonesia re-affirmed the State of Kuwait keenness on safeguarding rights of the foreign workers. In a statement to KUNA, reacting to fresh remarks by the Indonesian Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar affirming a government ban on Indonesia female workers from travelling to Kuwait, Nasser Bareh Al-Enezi said this measure had been in effect since September last year.
The statement by the Indonesian minister, was intended to assert the keenness on protecting the Indonesians who serve abroad, the Kuwaiti ambassador said, adding that he contacted Iskandar, who in turn indicated that a memorandum of understanding regulating status of the Indonesian workers in Kuwait has not been finalized yet.
Minister Iskandar expressed admiration at Kuwait’s efforts for tackling this file and lifting the ban, Al-Enezi said.
The Kuwaiti diplomat affirmed keenness of the State of Kuwait on safeguarding the rights of all workers residing and working in the country, as well maintaining their safety, securing an honorable living, facilitating residency and movement, in line with the respect for human rights. The diplomat also expressed hope that the two sides would work out an accord for regulating status of the Indonesian workers.