The Jakarta Post
The Foreign Ministry will suspend recruitment for a college internship program that provides scholarships in Taiwan following allegations of forced labor against an estimated 300 Indonesian students in the East Asian state.
“Indonesia will temporarily put a stop the recruitment for the college internship scheme until an agreement on better governance is made,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said on Wednesday as quoted by kontan.co.id.
He said the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) in Taiwan had been in cooperation with local authorities to scrutinize the program, called the New Southbound Policy (NSP) scholarship program, at eight universities.
He said the local authorities had also been urged to take action based on Taiwanese law in a bid to protect the interests and safety of the Indonesian students.
He estimated that, of the 6,000 Indonesians currently studying at universities in Taiwan, 1,000 were part of the NSP program.
The scholarship program is an initiative of the Taiwanese administration under leader Tsai Ing-wen. Its objective is to enhance cooperation and exchanges with 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia.
A report of the alleged forced labor was initially published on indonesianlantern.com on Monday.
The website reports about 300 Indonesian students were allegedly sent by trucks to a number of industrial areas and forced to work in plants and assemble products.
Taiwanese politician Ko Chih-en confirmed the report and said one of the students who was allegedly forced to work at a factory was studying at Hsing Wu University in New Taipei City. (das/bbn)