National

Shaken migrant workers
returned to Indonesia

Yusnita said that she had high hopes of landing a decent job in Malaysia, especially after hearing the pitch of a local recruitment agency last year.

“I was promised a job as a housemaid in Kuala Lumpur with a salary of up to 800,000 ringgit [US$262] a month,” the 23-year-old said.

“However, only three days after arriving in Malaysia, the police raided the agency that recruited us,” Yusnita told The Jakarta Post after disembarking here on Monday from a commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Yusnita was one of 82 migrant workers repatriated by the Foreign Ministry after they were round up by the police in Selangor, Malaysia.

The 82 were to be sent to Middle Eastern countries by human traffickers before the raid.

Yusnita said that she had no suspicions when the recruitment agency dispatched her to Malaysia with around 40 others on Nov. 29. She learned the truth only after officers arrested her.

“The police said that our visas were only for tourists and were not for working,” Yusnita, a resident of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), said.

Other migrant workers repatriated on Monday hailed from Central Java and Surabaya, East Java.

The ministry said that the workers were recruited by a Malaysian agency, AP Sentosa Sdn. Bhd., in Bandar Baru Klang in Selangor, Malaysia, which in turn drew applicants from 14 private recruitment agencies (PPTKI) in Jakarta; Semarang, Central Java; and Surabaya.

Tatang Budi Utama Razak, Foreign Ministry’s chief for legal aid and the protection of Indonesians overseas, said that the workers were among 104 apprehended in an operation conducted by Malaysian police and immigration officers in Selango rin December.

The ministry wanted the National Police to investigate the local recruiting agencies, Tatang said.

“We handed this case over to Bareskrim [the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division], which will conduct a further investigation to look for the individuals behind the agencies, and to take action that will have a deterrent effect.”

Tatang said that the agency in Malaysia planned to send the workers to countries including Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria — all nations where an Indonesian moratorium on migrant workers remained in effect.

“The government is trying to save our workers in Syria, but some private recruitment agencies are still sending our workers there,” he added.

Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno said that there were currently at least 40 Indonesian illegal migrant workers in Malaysia waiting to be repatriated.

“We hope that all migrant workers can follow existing procedures and complete all their documents and contracts before departing, so that the embassy can protect them should any problems occur,” he said.

Some of the returning workers said that they had been traumatized by their ordeal.

One worker, Merry, a resident of East Sumbawa, said that she had been terrified by her experience and vowed never to go abroad again.

The 29-year-old said that she had been in the dark about the agency’s plan to send her to work in the
Middle East.

“I will never go back there,” Merry said. “I’m afraid. They said I would work as a maid in Malaysia, not in the Middle East.” (nad)

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