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29 May 2007
MoU Must be Reviewed, Indonesian Workers in Malaysia Suffering Losses


A number of Indonesian migrant workers activists have asked the government to review the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia signed in Bali in 2006.

The agreement is regarded as being detrimental to Indonesian citizens working as migrant labors.

Miftah, Chairperson of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Association, said that under the MoU, employers were allowed to seize employees’ passports.

This was despite passports being individual identities which cannot be held by anybody except police and immigration officers.

“But the government easily gives permission that passport is submitted to employers or agents in Malaysia,” Miftah told Tempo yesterday (27/5).

The policy that allows employers to hold passports, said Miftah, actually triggered the large number of trafficking cases.

It is not surprising therefore that the rights of Indonesian workers in that country are often violated.

For example, torture, unpaid salary, prohibition to marry at work place and impediments to meet family members.

“All are human rights violations,” said Miftah.
Anis Hidayah, Executive Director of Migrant Care, questioned the deportation policy carried out by Malaysia.

According to Anis, a lot of Indonesian workers are to be deported due to the wrong recruitment system in Indonesia.

“Indonesia should have been able to struggle to remove the deportation option, and fight for legalization. The documents are legalized because the laborers there actually already have jobs.”

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