KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng today repeated his plea for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to personally intervene and request Jakarta lift its suspension on letting Indonesians come to Malaysia to work legally.
Citing this year’s US Human Trafficking Report, Lim noted that Malaysia was ranked lowest in the report and called on Ismail Sabri to assure Indonesia that concrete steps are being taken to protect migrant workers here.
“Despite the assurances from Malaysian government officials that the labour problem is resolved, there is no confirmation from the Indonesian Embassy as to when Indonesian workers can resume coming to Malaysia.
“The latest 2022 Human Trafficking Report of Malaysia by the United States does not inspire confidence that Malaysia is taking concrete steps to resolve the concerns of Indonesia to protect their foreign workers.
“Coupled with the Indonesian Ambassador condemning Malaysia as a disgrace, there is a severe trust deficit that only the prime minister’s personal intervention can overcome,” the Bagan MP said in a statement.
Because of that, Lim said Malaysia currently faces a “wealth destruction”, which he blamed on the current government for being allegedly inept and neglectful in managing foreign labour.
The former finance minister claimed this “wealth destruction” could have been avoided if Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet had been more conscientious in carrying out its duties.
He pointed out that Malaysia has lost some RM31 billion in the oil palm sector and glove industry due to labour shortages.
“The total RM31 billion in losses does not include losses in the non-oil palm or glove industry, such as manufacturing, retail and hospitality, tourism and services sector, where total losses tabulated will amount to tens of billions of ringgit,” he added.
Previously, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin claimed that the row with Jakarta was merely a “misunderstanding” resulting from a “communications breakdown”.
Indonesia refused to send its citizens to work here earlier this month after Malaysia’s immigration authorities continued using the System Maid Online, even though both countries agreed to use only the One Channel System through the MoU.
Hermono, who is Indonesia’s envoy to Malaysia, was reported to have said that Malaysia had breached the terms of the latest MoU signed in March and witnessed by Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Ismail Sabri.