FM Marsudi visits Malaysia to increase protection for Indonesian workers

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi is on a visit to Penang and Johor, Malaysia, on March 15-18, 2017, with the primary mission of intensifying protection for Indonesian citizens in both regions.

The visit is the first of its kind to be undertaken by an Indonesian foreign affairs minister to Penang and Johor since 1969, as stated in a press release from the Foreign Ministry received by ANTARA here on Saturday.

Minister Marsudi visited several places, including numerous locations where the Indonesian migrant workers work and the shelters for Indonesian citizens managed by the Consulate Generals in Penang and Johor Bahru.

During her visits, the minister also launched public service innovations initiated by the Indonesian representatives in Malaysia and met the chief minister of Penang.

In Johor and Penang, the foreign affairs minister visited palm oil plantations for holding a dialog with the workers and the management of the company.

Marsudi also visited Plexus Riverside, a tech-intensive industry, whose workforce largely constituted Indonesian female migrant workers.

During the meeting with the workers, Minister Marsudi got an insight into the various problems being encountered by the Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia and Indonesia.

"I urged the companys management in Malaysia to handle the problems, and I will also call on the Malaysian government to do so. Meanwhile, I have highlighted the problems being faced in the upstream sector to the relevant ministers to seek a solution," Minister Marsudi revealed.

In addition, innovative services for Indonesians provided by the state representatives being launched in Malaysia include the online passport monitoring system and cashless policy on payment services at the Consulate General in Penang.

At the Johor Bahru Consulate, Marsudi launched the Indonesian Community Center that provides facilities for workers, such as clinics and a vocational training centre.

"Public service innovation is a must. I have urged the Indonesian governments representatives to come up with other innovations in the next six months, including an online passport registration system and door-to-door immigration services, including for the migrant workers centres," she emphasized.

In Penang, the foreign affairs minister also held a meeting with Chief Minister of Penang Utama Haji Abdul Rahman in Penang.

During the meeting, Minister Marsudi called on the chief minister to increase protection being offered to Indonesian citizens.

The chief minister has responded positively to the foreign ministers visit as a testament to the Indonesian governments commitment to safeguarding its citizens in Malaysia.

The Penang chief minister also expressed gratitude for the important contribution by Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia. He expressed regret for any Malaysian employers or companies that still mistreated Indonesian workers.

Data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that about 360 thousand Indonesian citizens are working in Johor Bahru and approximately 80 thousand people are working in Penang. Most of the migrant workers work in palm oil plantations and in the construction and manufacturing sectors.(*)