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Jakarta Post

23 Indonesians die in Malaysian boat accident

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 28, 2016   /  07:55 pm
23 Indonesians die in Malaysian boat accident Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa (left) hugs a migrant worker in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, on Jan. 15. Khofifah visited a shelter in Tanjungpinang that accommodates troubled Indonesian migrant workers and witnessed the sending of migrant workers to their original regions. (Antara/M.N. Kanwa) (left) hugs a migrant worker in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, on Jan. 15. Khofifah visited a shelter in Tanjungpinang that accommodates troubled Indonesian migrant workers and witnessed the sending of migrant workers to their original regions. (Antara/M.N. Kanwa)

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa (left) hugs a migrant worker in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, on Jan. 15. Khofifah visited a shelter in Tanjungpinang that accommodates troubled Indonesian migrant workers and witnessed the sending of migrant workers to their original regions. (Antara/M.N. Kanwa)

Authorities found another body of an Indonesian in Malaysia after a boat capsized on Wednesday, bringing the accident'€™s death toll to 23.

Indonesia's consul general in Johor Baru, Taufiqur Rijal, told Antara news agency that the latest victim was found in the Kelise Beach in Johor, Malaysia, on Thursday morning.

Local authorities reported that the boat was carrying around 30 to 35 passengers. Search and rescue efforts remain ongoing.

The boat passed Malaysian waters illegally, Taufiqur said on Thursday.

Three victims have been identified, including Agus Susantio of Semarang, Central Java. The Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia arranged for the return of his body on Thursday afternoon.

The boat was allegedly carrying illegal Indonesian migrant workers heading back home to Indonesia, Kota Tinggi Police chief Rahmat Othman told Channel News Asia as reported by tempo.co on Wednesday.

The boat was hit by strong waves from Bandar Penawar, near Kota Tinggi, before dawn, Rahmat said.

Authorities found 13 dead bodies comprising nine women and four men, stranded on the shore on Wednesday.

The accident showed that many Indonesians were willing to put their lives at risk to avoid bloated government bureaucracy, said the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS).

Expensive and complicated government procedures pushed poor Indonesian migrant workers to seek illegal and dangerous channels, said Roffi Uddarojat, a researcher at CIPS, said in a press statement on Wednesday.

'€œApplying to become a domestic worker abroad costs two-thirds the annual minimum wage in many parts of Java, and takes three to four months. To avoid this high cost, the poor choose to find illegal channels to find work abroad so they can feed their families'€ Roffi said.

CIPS urged the government to cut bureaucracy for migrant workers, including a government regulations that requires migrant workers to spend up to 8 month'€™s worth of income to meet requirements to be allowed to work abroad.

Such policy would only lead the migrant workers to be taken advantage of by brokers or human traffickers, according to CIPS. (rin)