Indons must accept passport rule

  • Letters
  • Friday, 12 Sep 2003

CommentBy V.K. CHIN

EMPLOYERS will have more choices in recruiting foreign workers following the Government's decision to include more countries in the exercise. 

This will definitely ease the present tight situation the Government is in, having to depend on one or two countries for such labour.  

It is not a good policy to be dependent on so few suppliers, which can lead to problems later on. 

Indonesia used to be the main supplier of such workers, particularly in the construction, plantation and domestic help sectors.  

However, if Jakarta should place new restrictions on the hiring of these workers, Malaysia could be badly affected. 

While Indonesians have been the preferred workers for most local employers requiring such services, the negative effect is that there are too many of them in the country with perhaps the illegal ones outnumbering those who came in with proper documents. 

This has resulted in serious social and security problems as many of the present serious crimes are believed to have been committed by the Indonesians. 

Another concern is that some of them have brought their ethnic problems into the country and there have been several gang fights based along such tribal lines. 

This is the kind of trouble the Government and police do not need and the only way of resolving this issue is to reduce the number of Indonesian workers here. 

The Human Resources Ministry is even having difficulty in signing a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia because Jakarta does not want the passports of its citizens working here to be held by their employers. 

This impasse is going to undermine the smooth recruitment exercise and this will be detrimental to the Indonesian side.  

Malaysian employers will face a temporary delay in getting the foreign workers but once deals have been struck with other governments, things will smoothen out eventually. 

It is not unreasonable that the Government would like Indonesian workers, especially the domestic help, to deposit their passports with their employers as such maids have the reputation of running away after a while. 

Sometimes they even abscond without their passports, quite often taking their employers' cash and valuables along with them.  

They would immediately become illegal immigrants and it is a real headache to pick them up later for deportation. 

This is a situation the Government cannot allow to continue.  

Malaysia welcomes foreign workers so long as they come in through the front door as legitimate employees. 

By picking on small issues, Indonesia is jeopardising the employment opportunities of its own citizens and if it should keep on dragging its feet over this matter, it will give other nationals a chance to take their places. 

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