The Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic workers (PDI) between Malaysia and Indonesia will be inked this week, according to Malaysian Minister of Human Resources Saravanan Murugan.

“The MoU between Malaysia and Indonesia on recruitment and placement of Indonesian domestic workers will be signed this week in Jakarta,” the minister said when winding up his ministerial replies in Dewan Rakyat on March 14.

The MoU was initially slated to be signed in early February, but was postponed due to certain issues.

One of them was Indonesia’s demand for a One Channel System (OCS) to be implemented on the hiring of its domestic workers.

The OCS system entails a government-to-government channel on the employment of Indonesian domestic workers to Malaysia.

Once inked, Indonesia will provide 10,000 domestic workers to Malaysia under a pilot project.

On a separate matter, Saravanan said that he had met up with the US Ambassador to Malaysia to obtain more information on claims of forced labour by local rubber glove manufacturers.

He said it was appropriate that the US agency involved provide evidence of such claims to allow authorities here to investigate the matter further.

He noted that the report by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not specify in detail on the alleged abuses.

“We are asking for evidence from the US and the relevant agencies so that we can work together to resolve the issue, as it involves the image of our country,” he said.

He added that he would also be attending the International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting in Geneva next month to clear the air over allegations of forced labour practices here.

The CBP had issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on palm oil and related products made wholly or in part with palm oil traceable to Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) on December 16, 2020.

The US authority alleged that there was reasonable evidence to show that the local company here had harvested fruits and produced palm oil using forced labour.

Last year, CBP had also banned the imports of rubber gloves from several manufacturers in the country after allegations of forced labour practices.

Meanwhile, Saravanan said that the ministry has begun investigations into certain individuals who were said to be using non-governmental organisations to extort companies by threatening them with allegations of forced labour.

He noted that the identity of the individuals involved was known by authorities in a neighbouring country, who had banned their entry.