Indonesian and Malaysian officials said Sunday Jakarta would resume sending maids to work in the neighbouring country next month following a more-than-two-year ban.
However a potential new source of tension has emerged amid reports that Indonesia had imposed restrictions on how much work the maids could be tasked with, which Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak has called "not reasonable".
The maid saga has been a sore point in relations between the two neighbours. The ban was imposed in June 2009 by Jakarta after numerous abuse cases.
Indonesia announced in December it would lift the ban after the two countries agreed to better protect maids, including allowing them one day off per week.
But the deal came into doubt earlier this month when an Indonesian embassy official said they would recommend reimposing the ban after receiving a report that a high-ranking Malaysian official had abused his Indonesian maids.
Suryana Sastradiredja, an Indonesian embassy official, told AFP that officials from both countries met in Jakarta last week to thrash out the issue, and the first batch of about 100 maids is expected to arrive by mid-April.
But he insisted maids hired for household chores for 700 ringgit ($230) monthly would need to be paid extra if they were asked to perform additional tasks, such as taking care of children or the elderly or cooking.
Najib was quoted by the New Straits Times daily as saying he was "surprised" by Jakarta's requirement that maids be paid extra for additional tasks.
"We will try to find an amicable solution," he reportedly said.
Malaysian Human Resources Ministry labour department head Sheikh Yahya Sheikh Mohamed told AFP that the two sides never agreed that maids could only be asked to do one task. He also said market forces should determine their salaries.
Some 300,000 Indonesian women formerly worked in Malaysian households, and the ban led to a shortage of maids that has hit working Malaysian parents.
Cambodia also imposed a ban on sending domestic workers to Malaysia in October following numerous abuse complaints.© ANP/AFP