Last Updated: Wed Dec 22, 2010 15:14 pm (KSA) 12:14 pm (GMT)

Indonesia to reduce number of maids in UAE

Indonesian maid, 23 in age, before and after she was tortured in Saudi
Indonesian maid, 23 in age, before and after she was tortured in Saudi

After gruesome crimes against two Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabia, the south East Asian country is showing concerns over its female citizens in the UAE and its planning a cut in their number, a UAE-based newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Indonesian embassy in the UAE is concerned about the number of female workers fleeing their employers’ homes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, The National reported M Wahid Supriyadi, Indonesia’s ambassador in the UAE saying.

Instead Indonesia is eying to bring more professional Indonesians to the UAE. It is estimated that around 70 percent of the 100,000 Indonesia expatriate workers in the UAE are housemaids.

"So far, there have been no discussions about any call by our government, NGOs or the Islamic groups to stop sending housemaids to the UAE," Supriyadi said.

"What I would like to recommend is the deployment of more professionals instead of household workers. For instance, a few hundred more Indonesian engineers are needed in the oil and petrochemical industries in Abu Dhabi and Ruwais," he added.

The Indonesian ambassador said there was also a UAE demand for nurses and other medical workers, security guards, waiting staff and chefs in the hospitality sector.

Physical abuse is "minimal" in the UAE

According to Supriyadi, the number of physical abuse cases among Indonesian housemaids who sought shelter at the embassy in Abu Dhabi was "minimal".

The majority however complained of unpaid salaries, verbal abuse and unfair working hours, he said.

There is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Indonesia and the UAE for the protection of Indonesian skilled, semi-skilled and professional workers , however there is no such agreement in place to proect housemaids or non-skilled workers.

Indonesia’s state of West Nusa Tenggara banned recruitment of its residents to work in Saudi Arabia particularly after the two gruesome cases of abuse of two female Indonesian workers.

One 23-year-old housemaid claimed that her Saudi employers burned her with an iron and stabbed and slashed her with scissors during a beating that caused internal bleeding and multiple broken bones.

Saudi Arabia's labor ministry said in a statement that it was sorry about the case, but called it an isolated incident.

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