A TOTAL of 18,716 domestic workers ran away from their employers' homes last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan said from the total, 17,205 were domestic workers from Indonesia.
"As of last year, 247,069 foreign housemaids were employed in Malaysia, with 76.7 per cent from Indonesia," she said in reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut).
Lim had asked on the measures taken by the government to address the problem of domestic workers running away from their employers.
Maznah said the ministry had taken a few measures to address the problem, including holding joint working group discussions, seminars and dialogues on foreign domestic workers, introducing a biometric system and a booklet on hiring foreign domestic workers.
"Malaysia has had a series of discussions with the Indonesian government on salaries of domestic workers, which started in 2009.
"These resulted in both countries signing protocol amendments to the memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia on the benefits of domestic workers in May this year."
She added that the biometric system, which had been implemented by the Home Ministry, could help trace runaway maids should they try to seek employment in other places.
"Employers can also read the guide book on hiring foreign domestic workers by the ministry to improve their knowledge on the benefits, welfare and protection that domestic workers are entitled to according to the law."