PUTRAJAYA: Cambodia has lifted its six-year ban on citizens going to Malaysia to work as maids, said Malaysia's Human Resources Minister Richard Riot on Thursday (May 25).
The first batch of Cambodian domestic workers will arrive in the country after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, he added.
Riot said the decision was reached ''on the spot'' during his meeting with his Cambodian counterpart in Phnom Penh recently.
"We reached an agreement in getting Cambodian domestic workers here as soon as possible," he said at a press conference after launching the Guidelines and Tips for Employers of Foreign Domestic Helpers.
In 2011, the Cambodian government banned its citizens from working as domestic workers in Malaysia after incidents of beating of Cambodian maids by their Malaysian employers were reported.
Riot said a joint technical committee comprising senior officials from the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry and Cambodian Labour and Vocational Training Ministry was set up to finalise the terms and conditions in bringing in the Cambodian domestic workers.
"The number (of domestic workers coming to Malaysia) depends. The joint technical committee will sort it out," he said.
Riot said the Cambodian domestic workers would undergo at least one month of training including learning Malaysian culture, and basic Bahasa Melayu and English before coming to Malaysia.
"I visited one of the centres in Cambodia. The centre will train them not only in daily household chores but also simple Bahasa Melayu and English, our culture, especially in the Muslim family. This is to avoid culture shock when they arrive," he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) president Raja Zulkepley Dahalan welcomed the decision reached by the Malaysian and Cambodian governments.
"I hope to see more foreign domestic workers coming to Malaysia with the lifting of the ban. We badly need them but we don't have the supply as the salary here is low," he said when met by reporters.
"It is not easy to get domestic workers from Cambodia to come here as they prefer to work in countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore where the salaries offered are high, up to US$400 while in Malaysia, it is up to about US$230," he added.