The Jakarta Post
Indonesian missions in Singapore and Malaysia – which contain two of the largest communities of Indonesian workers abroad – have urged the workers not to return to their hometowns for the annual Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
“We urge our migrant workers to stay indoors when they get a weekly day off to minimize the risk of contagion. We also urge them to not take their Idul Fitri leaves just yet,” Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore I Gede Ngurah Swajaya said on Monday.
The Indonesia Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI) recorded in 2019 that more than 18,300 Indonesians were working in Singapore.
On Sunday, Singapore reported 120 new coronavirus cases, by far the highest daily rise, and quarantined nearly 20,000 migrant workers in their dormitories, Reuters reported.
Of the new cases, 116 were locally transmitted and many were linked to two dormitories that house migrant workers, who will now have to stay in their rooms for 14 days.
Although the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore has reported no Indonesians among the quarantined workers, who mainly come from South Asian countries, the embassy has urged the Indonesian workers to remain vigilant.
In Malaysia, with more than 90,600 Indonesian migrant workers, the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said that it would also issue a letter urging workers to postpone mudik this year as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
Indonesia has established a safety net to ensure the wellbeing of Indonesians abroad, especially migrant workers in the informal sector.
Foreign Ministry director for citizen protection Judha Nugraha said recently that Indonesian missions in Malaysia were actively sending logistical aid to the most vulnerable groups of Indonesians there.
Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the government planned to allocate a special fund for the protection of citizens abroad.
“The amount [of the fund] has yet to be decided,” Faizasyah said.
As of Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), Malaysia had recorded 3,793 cases with 62 deaths, while Singapore had recorded 1,375 cases with 6 deaths. Indonesia has announced 2,738 confirmed cases, with 221 deaths.