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Call for increased oversight on migrant workers

More than 100 workers found captive in raid over the weekend

Call for increased oversight on migrant workers
Muhaimin Iskandar (courtesy House of Representatives)

The government has reacted to the release of 95 Indonesian domestic workers after a raid in Malaysia over the weekend, by saying the placement of migrant workers must be evaluated in order to protect them from abuse.

“We call on the National Police to be more aggressive in arresting those sending illegal Indonesian migrant workers as it leads to human trafficking,” Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar said yesterday.

The Indonesians, all women, were found along with three Malaysians, three Cambodians and one Filipino. Malaysian police arrested 12 people in the raid.

The captive women were domestic workers during the day but allegedly confined at night and did not receive payment.

Malaysian police are still searching for the owner of the agency.

Indonesia lifted a 2009 ban on migrant workers to Malaysia last year. According to Iskandar, the government has introduced a legal procedure for working overseas.

“Don’t believe in anyone telling you that illegal placement is cheap. Whatever the reason is, that is a deception,” he said.

In order to lessen the number of illegal Indonesian migrant workers, he added, the government has tried to lower the placement expenses.

An Indonesian migrant worker pays between 10-15 million rupiah (between US$1,052 and US$1,578) for a valid placement, he said.

Almost 100 Indonesians were authorized to work in Malaysia last year, but 20,000 workers, lured by high wages and the promise of work, left to illegally work there during the same period.

Iskandar said Indonesian and Malaysian governments will hold a meeting later this month to discuss problems faced by Indonesian migrant workers.

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