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Monday, September 20, 2010

A Dialogue on Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers

A group photo with Ibu Zani, Bapa Hendro, Asrarudin, Carla and Tumiur

Sandakan : Some 100 Indonesian migrant workers (Tenaga Kerja Indonesia), mostly from Flores Island of  Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), Indonesia attended an open dialogue on 'Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers' yesterday, 19th September 2010 at  St Mark's Church, 20 kilometers from the town centre.
Ibu Zani responding to some questions posed by the migrants
Ibu Zani Murnia, Counselor of the Indonesian Embassy, Kuala Lumpur, Bapa Hendro, the Counsel of the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau, his assistant Asrarudin Salam and Carla June Natan were the key members of the panel discussion. 

Panel members and the audience
 The event was made possible through the kind arrangement of Carla June Natan, the Program Coordinator of the Centre for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW), a protestant faith base organization, based in Jakarta ,assisted by Tumiur Harianja working in collaboration with the St Mary's Cathedral  Parish Pastoral Council led by John Baptis.

Questions raised by some of the migrants 

 The panel discussion touched on a wide range of issues encountered by the migrants who are mainly engaged in the agricultural, poultry, industrial and service sectors.Among the issues raised by the migrants were;
  • Education for their children who are not able to seek entry into Malaysian schools.
  • Limited access to health care for their dependents
  • Payment of levy
  • Process of passports renewal and
  • Updates of the current affairs of Indonesia
Bapa Hendro gave very clear answers to all the questions raised and cited that the main focus of the Consulate is to serve and protect the welfare of the Indonesian migrant workers. He also said that there is a possibility of setting up a 'Community learning centre' for the migrants' children in Sandakan as long as the number warrants such establishment. There are already six such centres in operation in Sabah.
Bapa Hendro
Asrarudin Salam
It would be good if every migrant could be free of problem by adhering to the requirement of the sending country and the receiving country. Should there be problem, it ought to be solved at their community level, otherwise consult their employer and if no solution is reached, then  bring it up to the Consulate.
Ibu Zani Murnia
Ibu Zani called upon on Indonesian migrant workers to follow and adhere to the laws of the host country of Malaysia. She also disclosed the 'one-day' policy practiced by the Embassy and that includes the consulate in Sabah for passport renewal. She encouraged the migrants to go through the proper process to obtain proper documents so that they could work and live here legally. Such effort could reduce the number of illegal immigrants from Indonesia.
Carla June Natan
Carla June Natan felt that such dialogue ought to be held regularly so that solutions to  problems faced by the migrants could be expedited. It would be ideal if a set schedule be prepared for such visits.

She added, 'I am pleased to see the close rapport of the Indonesian authority and its citizens, working as migrant workers in Sabah. I appreciate the care and concern shown by the said authority.'
John Baptis
John Baptis, in his closing remark extended his appreciation to Carla and Tumiur of CIMW, Ibu Zani, Bapa Hendro and Asrarudin for the invaluable service extended to the members of the 'Keluarga Besar Katolik Indonesia'.  The collaboration between the churches gives rise to the promotion of ecumenism..' He then led the closing prayer and after which a group photograph was taken as a remembrance of the said event.  


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