Jakarta Globe | February 04, 2013
Though stories about Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia usually concern abuse and poor wages, one maid flipped the usual script and struck it rich in the oil-soaked kingdom.
Virtually coinciding with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s arrival in Riyadh on Sunday, Almadinah, a local news outlet, reported that an Indonesian maid inherited 110 million Saudi riyals ($29 million) from her late Saudi husband.
Almadinah said on Saturday that the maid, whose name was not disclosed, received her fortune in line with her husband Ali Ayami’s will and Islamic law, according to Antaranews.com.
Ayami’s family, the Arabic language newspaper said, initially gave the widow 20 million riyals after her husband died. However, she later received an additional 90 million riyals after his assets were sold.
Yunus M. Yamani, the head of the ethics division at the Association of Migrant Worker Service Companies (Apjati), stated that it was good news that an Indonesian maid could be so fortunate.
“Actually, we have many positive stories about our migrant workers in Saudi Arabia — it is not only about them being tortured. Millions of them have managed to help their families at home by sending money they earn [in Saudi Arabia] back,” he said as quoted by Antaranews.com.
Many Indonesian domestic workers have reportedly experienced violence and torture in the desert kingdom.
In 2010, Migrant Care recorded 5,560 reports of physical and sexual abuse among foreign workers in Saudi Arabia alone, including two cases where a maid jumped from a third floor apartment to escape torture, and another where a body was found in a dumpster.
Following several reported cases of maltreatment and violent abuse, Indonesia stopped sending maids to Saudi Arabia in early 2011 after an Indonesian worker was beheaded after being convicted of murdering her Saudi employer.
Yudhoyono reportedly traveled to Riyadh to sign an agreement to once again allow Indonesian maids to be recruited by Saudi Arabia.