Indonesia, Malaysia sign accord to protect migrant workers

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s president and Malaysia’s prime minister looked on as officials signed an agreement Friday on the placement and protection of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia during a meeting in Jakarta.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by Malaysian Human Resources Minister Saravanan Murugan and Indonesian Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah, outlines the One Channel System, which regulates the entire process of recruiting, placing and repatriating Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia.

“Indonesian migrant workers have contributed a lot to economic development in Malaysia,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said, “so it is only natural that they get maximum rights and protection from our two countries.”

Indonesia’s population of over 270 million has created a surplus of workers, and Malaysia is one of the main destination countries for them. According to the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers, more than 79,000 Indonesian migrant workers recorded work assignments in Malaysia in 2019. The number decreased in 2020 and 2021.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob spoke to a conference during his second visit to Jakarta since he was appointed in August.

“As a neighboring country, Malaysia has always appreciated and valued the contribution of Indonesian migrant workers to the economic development and life of the Malaysian people,” Ismail said. “This MoU will ensure that all processes for the recruitment and protection of migrant workers will be carried out comprehensively by the parties concerned based on applicable laws in both countries”

Widodo added that the two countries agreed to begin a discussion in partnership with law enforcement addressing a high rate of human trafficking between Indonesia and Malaysia.

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