Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Moratorium of Sending Migrant Workers The Way?

Once again our government is solving the wrong problem. So, we have problem with our migrant workers abroad. Some of them are barely able to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia, let alone in foreign language. This, of course, creates frustration between the employer and employee. Trust me, I've had my share of frustration with my maids and I speak their language! Coupled that, with the fact that some of them had never seen any modern equipments including a sitting closet before they get to their crash-course facility prior going abroad. In short, these people, who, lets face it, are not all geniuses, had to cramp a lot of new information and suffers culture shocks in a short time before stationed somewhere abroad. Not a good start.

Eventhough some came back successfully building a brick house or two in their village, sending their kids to school. Some had a miserable fate abroad: got raped, unpaid salaries, working long hours (22 hours for example), got beaten up. These negative experiences could lead to depression in both employee and employer, which could lead to murder in some extreme cases such as Ruyati.

Ruyati went back for the 3rd time to Saudi in 2008. The company that sent her put her in a different employer than the one stated in her contract. According to her kids, they heard from another servant in the same house Ruyati started getting abuse on her 3rd day in that house. By 2009, according to the newspapers, Ruyati begged her employer for a permission to go home, but she didnt get it. In December 2009, according to her kids, she called and told them that she was just hospitalized for a broken bone and crushed leg that needed surgery due to being pushed from a stairs by her employer. She wasnt paid for 3 months in 2009 according to the government. The ending of her story in that house was tragic as we've heard: it was in mid January 2010 Ruyati killed the very employer who pushed her by stabbing her head & neck.

In accordance to Saudi's law, Ruyati was sentenced to death by beheading. The official story was: Indonesian government knew nothing until after the execution. Everyone is angry in Indonesia and not a single twit in Saudi on this. There's something fishy about the whole thing. G_d knows what happened.

As a result, our dear president announced a moratorium of sending migrant workers to Saudi.

Now, I am not sure I agree with that policy. We cant deny that for some, going to places like Saudi means increase of welfare for their family. With moratorium being forced this year, there are at least tens of thousands people cant go abroad to work. This means tens of thousands families is losing their remittance prospect and not to mentioned still have to pay for the loan they took to pay for the preparation for going abroad.

I'd rather we tighten the permit of sending people abroad. Since most who got into trouble work as domestic workers, perhaps for the time being we give them more education, especially in foreign language and about their rights and how to deal with stress. We could also work together with the destination countries so that our workers could get random visits to check up on their well-being, that their employer was screened before hand, that they have dedicated lawyers & interpreters working on their side should it be needed. Meanwhile we also need to open up more jobs in Indonesia with a better condition & money, so that less and less people need to go abroad and subjected to abuse to earn money.

We cant just send them off and not bother about them once they got to their destination like it's been all these time. We need to take care and protect our own people. Especially the very people who help us getting money from abroad to educate our kids, to better our future.


Multibrand said...

The government must conclude an agreement with governments of countries where our workers will be placed, ensuring protection of our workers' rights.
The govt must make sure that our workers are given enough training and can speak and hear language of the country they will be send to, before they were given permission to leave the country.
After that they should be monitored perhaps by our embassy or consulate.

triesti said...

yupe, I agree with you. The monitoring is crucial, and it needs to be randomly done. I also think that the company needs to check the future employer too, if they had problem with their previous maids to minimize problem in the future