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Malaysian 'Fire your Indonesian maid' advert sparks diplomatic row

Indonesia has formally complained about the advert to Malaysia

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Friday 06 February 2015 20:15 GMT

The Malaysian government has received a formal complaint from Indoesia over an “insensitive” and “demeaning” advert created for a vacuum cleaner brand, which said: “Fire your Indonesian maid now!”

The ad, made by the company behind RoboVac, shows a white man relaxing in a chair with a vacuum cleaner close to him, and has been seen as stoking tensions between the two countries over the treatment of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia, sparking outrage online.

The ad, which has now been taken down, has been described as “insensitive”, “demeaning,” and “very disturbing to the feeling of the people and nation” by Indonesia.

“The ad by the private company RoboVac is utterly insensitive and demeaning to the people of Indonesia,” the Indonesian Embassy said in a statement.

Indonesian ambassador Herman Prayitno has called for the advert to be banned completely, the BBC reports, and is considering taking legal action against the company.

The treatment of Indonesian migrants in Malaysia has been a constant source of tension, with previous reports of mistreatment and torture of migrant domestic workers on record. Following a series of abuse cases, the Indonesian government issued a ban on Malaysians employing Indonesian domestic workers in in 2009 that lasted for two years.

The issue arose just days before Indonesian president Joko Widodo is due to arrive in Malaysia on a five-day tour of Southeast Asia this week.

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