Unusual

Malaysian ad sparks diplomatic row with Indonesia

The Indonesian government has taken strong objection to a Malaysian ad which urges its employers to ‘fire their Indonesian maids’ and lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian government.

The advertisement has been created by the company RoboVac and as the name suggests, advertises a vacuum cleaner. Indonesia said the advert was “very disturbing to the feeling of the people and nation.”
“The ad by the private company Robovac is utterly insensitive and demeaning to the people of Indonesia,” the Indonesian embassy in Malaysia said in a statement. “We urge Malaysian authorities to ban the ad,” it said, adding that it was considering further legal action against the company. The advertisement posed online showed a white man sitting in a chair and relaxing nearby with the vacuum cleaner close by, had to be taken down due to the outcry it raised among the Indonesians.
The ill treatment of hundreds and thousands of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia has often thawed relations between both the countries. In June 2009, a complete ban was put in place by the Indonesian government which barred them from taking such jobs. Reports and stories of mistreatment of Indonesian domestic help prompted the Indonesian government to take such drastic steps in defense of its citizens.
The ban imposed in 2009 was then revoked by the Indonesian government when a deal was reached between both countries. This included an agreement of one day being given off to the Indonesian workers. Also, Malaysian employers could no longer withhold passports of their Indonesian employees.
A meeting has been scheduled on Friday between President Widodow of Indonesia and Prime Minister Najib Razzak of Malaysia. Most likely, the issue will be taken up by the Indonesian President with the Malaysian Prime Minister.
An estimated four hundred thousand domestic workers are employed in Malaysia.

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