Indonesia, Malaysia boost bilateral trade, resolve domestic worker issues

Featured - December 23rd, 2012
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Indonesia and Malaysia have reaffirmed ties with an agreement to boost bilateral trade, strengthening cooperation on maritime border security and resolving long-standing issues on domestic workers.

Both leaders agreed to set up a joint trade investment committee in a meeting between Prime Minister Daruk Seri Najib and his Indonesian counterpart President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. The committee would boost bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2015, while it is expected to reach $20 billion this year from $18.3 billion last year.

“We are satisfied that our economic cooperation in the form of bilateral trade is on a rising trajectory,” Prime Minister Najib said.

Mr. Najib added that the two countries will strengthen cooperation on maritime border security and push for re-negotiations involving domestic workers, such as lowering agency fees, that have strained bilateral relations.

Indonesia imposed a three-year long temporary ban on the supply of Indonesia maids to Malaysia in 2009 over a string of abuses. Earlier this month, authorities found 95 Indonesia maids, along with six Filipino and four Cambodian women, who were forced to work without pay and held against their will in a building in Kuala Lumpur.

“Issues involving domestic workers that have been plaguing Indonesia and Malaysia will soon be resolved,” he told the New Straits Times.

President Yudhoyono lauded the renewed cooperation between the two countries. “We are hopeful of continued support and cooperation in the years to come,” he said.