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Jakarta Post

Rights group reports House deputy speaker over migrant worker comments

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 28, 2017   /  11:21 am
Rights group reports House deputy speaker over migrant worker comments House visit — Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab (center) talks with House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah (right) during a visit to the House complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Jan. 11. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A.)

Rights group Migrant Care filed a formal complaint on Friday with the House of Representatives ethics council against House Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah, over remarks deemed insulting to Indonesian migrant workers (TKI).

Migrant Care director Anis Hidayah said the rights watchdog made the move after receiving numerous protests against Fahri from migrant workers, their relatives as well as campaigners for the rights of TKI, lambasting the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician for his insensitivity.

“As a public official, he [Fahri] should be careful with his words as well as his behavior because everything that he says and does will impact his work,” Anis said.

“Referring to TKI as babu, a colonial term, reflected his whole perspective in addressing problems regarding our migrant workers,” she added. “This explains a bit why we have seen no improvements in the deliberation of the bill on TKI.”

Babu is a derogatory term used to refer to a maid. Fahri used the term when complaining about “rampant” illegal workers in the country on his Twitter account earlier this month, contrasting the problem with struggling Indonesian maids begging for money abroad. As the tweet went viral and stirred up protest from netizens, Fahri removed the post and apologized. 

In reporting Fahri to the ethics council, Migrant Care has demanded that the House punish him by firing him from the deputy speaker position and removing him from the House’s team supervising TKI. (dmr)