Malaysian Employers Want Clampdown on Indonesian Workers Eased

“Malaysian employers have urged the government to relax a recent clampdown on Indonesian migrant labor sparked by workers rioting.” Though the government says that it will now only hire Indonesians for plantation and household work, Malaysian businesses noted that hiring non-Indonesians will not prevent further riots and will create further difficulties in language and cultural integration. In a case where economic growth seemingly requires cultural homogeneity, the Malaysian government finds itself fretting over civil unrest. - YaleGlobal

Malaysian Employers Want Clampdown on Indonesian Workers Eased

Anon.
Sunday, February 17, 2002

Malaysian employers have urged the government to relax a recent clampdown on Indonesian migrant labor sparked by workers rioting, a report said on Saturday.

The move to restrict Indonesians to plantation or household work will disrupt manpower planning and corporate operations, Malaysian Employers' Federation president Jaafar Carrim was quoted as saying by The Star daily.

"There is no guarantee that those from other countries will not create any social problems. We hope the government will give employers more flexibility in recruiting cost-effective workers," he said, as quoted by Antara.

Jaafar said Indonesians were more suitable because of the culture, language and working environment shared by the two countries.

"Problems of communication and the lack of skills are anticipated with the recruitment of non-Indonesian foreign workers," he added.

The government early this month imposed a clampdown on Indonesian workers following a riot by 400 Indonesian textile workers at their factory over police drug tests on co-workers on Jan. 17.

Three days later, more than 70 Indonesian construction workers armed with machetes went on the rampage at Cyberjaya, a hi-tech suburb south of Kuala Lumpur.

The government said it would only hire Indonesians as maids and plantation workers and take workers from Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and India to fill positions in other sectors.

Indonesians were previously employed in almost all sectors.

Home ministry secretary-general Aseh Che Mat last month said Indonesians made up 566,983 out of a total of 769,566 legal foreign workers in the country.

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayudha is to head a delegation to Kuala Lumpur next week for a meeting that is expected to address the workers' issue, officials said.

Copyright © of The Jakarta Post. 2002

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