Friday, March 02, 2007

Indonesian NGO to Take Malaysia to UN

Indonesian NGO to Take Malaysia to UN
Thursday, 01 March, 2007 | 16:40 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Migrant Care, an Indonesian NGO, which deals with migrant worker matter, will bring up the matter of Malaysia's Migrant Worker Bill at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Swiss, on March 20.

Wahyu Susilo, Migrant Care's policy analyst, said he considered that the bill would really limit migrant workers in Malaysia, including those from Indonesia.

“This regulation law degrades human rights despite Malaysia being a member of the UN Human Rights Council member,” he told Tempo on Wednesday (28/2).

According to Wahyu, restrictions include migrant workers having to be placed in villages near industries.

Migrant workers will also be forbidden to enter urban areas and in addition, migrant workers' activities will be watched by the police.

“The mobility of migrant workers will be very restricted,” said Wahyu.

He said he considered the reason given for composing the bill, that the increased crime rate in Malaysia was caused by migrant workers, was inappropriate.

A number of lawyers in Malaysia, he said, stated that the amount of crimes committed by migrant workers was only five percent.

“One percent was by workers from Indonesia,” said Wahyu.

He said he regretted that the government seemed to ignore the fates of migrant workers.

The government's ignorance, he said, was seen from the meeting between President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi last week, which did not mention employment matters.

Nonetheless, the number of Indonesian workers in Malaysia is quite large.

Out of a total of 2.2 migrant workers in this neighboring country, between 1.2 million and 1.7 million are from Indonesia.

The number could be larger because many Indonesian workers are unregistered.

“Without Indonesian workers, Malaysia's economy wouldn't be as developed as it is now,” said Wahyu.

The government, he said, must take action immediately to prevent the regulation from being passed.

This can be done by holding a dialog between ministers or head of states and Indonesia can also solve this matter through an ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) forum.

“Malaysia and Indonesia together signed the migrant workers protection declaration in ASEAN forum,” said Wahyu.


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