The RoboVac advertisement has been condemned in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of

Govt Threatens Legal Action Over Malaysian Vacuum Cleaner Ad


FEBRUARY 05, 2015

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has threatened a Malaysian cleaning company with legal action over a vacuum cleaner advertisement that said "Fire Your Indonesian Maid Now!"

Armanatha Nasir, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said on Thursday that the ministry had requested the company make a public apology, or face possible legal action.

"We've sent a letter telling the company to make an apology in three different Malaysian newspapers of at least half a page," Armanatha said.

"If they don't do it in the next seven days, we'll definitely take the next legal step."

President Joko Widodo and Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi are currently in Malaysia for a three-day state visit. However, Armanatha said the matter would not be discussed officially.

"They're not going to have a special discussion for that — only during the informal talks," he said.

The RoboVac advertisement — which was not broadcast, but widely circulated on social media — has been met with a chorus of indignation in Indonesia.

Tens of thousands of Indonesian workers travel to Malaysia, one of the region's most affluent nations, each year to work. The majority of migrant workers find employment as domestic helpers and cases of abuse are frequent.

The company’s website was hacked on Thursday, making it it inaccessible.

The site displayed a warning message when opened and contained a message in broken English, which said: “Please be nice to our sisters, they have family, they have kids, all need her to be fed up.

"Don’t forget we are Indonesian people will protect them. Your advertisement is not very funny at all. You drop Indonesian people dignity at your feet. Thank you [sic].”

Another caption on the site was changed to “Save KPK, Save Polri," referring to the feud between Corruption Eradication Commission and the National Police.