KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan told Dewan Rakyat today that Jakarta has agreed to "integrate" its own online recruitment system with the one used by Malaysia's Home Ministry.
The minister's account is different from Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Hermono's recent complaint that Putrajaya's Online Maid System (SMO) should have been discontinued as part of the Memorandum of Understanding on hiring signed between the two countries.
Indonesia had temporarily frozen sending its people to work here after its ambassador who goes by a single name claimed the recent batch of recruitment was still using the SMO platform.
"Coincidentally, there was never an agreement to abolish existing systems. What was agreed upon in the MoU was that the system used by Indonesia for recruitment of its workers did not require us to dissolve [our] existing system," Saravanan said during Question Time.
"After we held discussions with Indonesia, we have agreed that the system employed by KDN be integrated with the system proposed by Indonesia," he added, using the Malay abbreviation for the Home Ministry led by Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
Indonesia's announcement of the recruitment suspension last week has cast serious doubt on the MoU and bilateral ties with Malaysia.
Bilateral relations between the two South-east countries have been rocky in the past few years over allegations of abuse and poor treatment of Indonesian workers in Malaysia, and the lack of action taken by local authorities.
Opposition MPs said the collapse of the MoU could upend efforts to resolve Malaysia's severe labour shortage.
Hamzah told Parliament yesterday that the row with Jakarta was merely a "misunderstanding" resulting from a "communications breakdown".
Indonesia refused to send its citizens to work here earlier this month after Malaysia’s immigration authorities continued using the SMO, even though both countries agreed to use only the One Channel System through the MoU.
Hermono was reported to have said that Malaysia had breached the terms of the latest MoU signed in March and witnessed by Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.