Government Asked to Protect Indonesian Migrant Workers Affected by Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO)

13-04-2020 / KOMISI I

As many as 3.5 million Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia have been affected by the implementation of lockdown or Movement Control Order (MCO) since the Covid-19 Outbreak started on March 18. In response to the matter, Member of the Commission I of the Indonesian House (defense, foreign, and information affairs), Sukamta, said the government needs to implement tactical strategy such as gradual repatriation of migrant workers to protect 3.5 million Indonesian citizens during this uncertain situation. 


Sukamta said, after MCO have been implemented, the Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia have dealt with difficult situation because most of them work in informal sector and many of them were laid off from their work. As a result, those who work on a freelance basis practically lost their jobs and income. To make matters worse, the MCO has been extended for the third time until the end of April, and is still likely to be extended. 


"Therefore, it is necessary to immediately implement a tactical strategy to save Indonesian migrant workers in this uncertain condition. The government should find a solution to deal with the worst situation in the event that this MCO lasts longer than expected. The gradual repatriation of migrant workers, for instance, may need to be carried out on a massive scale. You don’t want people to think that you neglect your own citizens in Malaysia," said Sukamta in a press release received by Parlementaria, Sunday (04/12/2020). 


The politician who represents the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) added that the Indonesian citizens affected by the MCO policy in Malaysia are spread over various locations with different conditions. Some survived by only eating white bread or by drinking from tap water, while some others went to the forest to find roots and tubers that they can eat in order to survive. In this situation, regardless of their legal or illegal status, Indonesian migrant workers are all Indonesian citizens with equal rights to be protected by the state. 


The Embassy, as well as Consulate General, of the Republic of Indonesia in Malaysia have so far distributed free essential food supplies, but they are far from sufficient for the great number of Indonesian citizens in need. 


Sukamta appreciates the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia for responding to this situation and committing itself to the protection of Indonesian citizens in Malaysia through different measures such as the distribution of essential food supplies. ”But I think the Foreign Minister could still work even faster and more massively in the field. They also need to cooperate with other stakeholders, including NGOs, to reach all the citizens in need,” he said.  


“Specifically, I am expecting that Mr. Ambassador, Rusdi Kirana, himself will lead the mission and supervise the process directly to save Indonesian citizens who unfortunately had to leave their beloved country to make a living in a foreign country. I remember years ago during the fit and proper test at the Indonesian Parliamentary compound, Mr. Ambassador was brought to tears as he talked about the fates of Indonesian immigrant workers in Malaysia and expressed his intention to help them. He could not have asked for a better occassion than right now. This is the best time for him to do that,” said Sukamta. (ann/es) 

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