The Jakarta Post
An Indonesian migrant worker has died while lining up for a passport extension at the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the embassy confirmed on Friday. He had been suffering from heart disease.
At about 6:45 p.m. on Thursday Tamam Arsyad, 66, collapsed on the embassy’s doorstep at the front of the application line.
The Bawean, East Java native had been a permanent resident of Malaysia for three years and was waiting for the consular office to open so he could extend his red identity card when he collapsed.
“An applicant who was sitting behind him then laid him down on the floor. He passed away shortly after that,” the Indonesian Embassy wrote in a statement on its official Facebook page on Thursday, noting that Tamam was immediately taken to the hospital.
Indonesian Embassy coordinator for consular affairs Yusron Ambary said the line was not as packed as earlier reports had made it seem, as few other applicants were present.
Social media was rife with speculation that the man had to endure excessively long and crowded lines to process his documents, leading to exhaustion and, ultimately, his death.
Tamam had previously been diagnosed with a chronic heart problem. Medical examiners released Taman’s medical records to his wife as soon as she arrived at the hospital.
“The records are needed so the family can bring him home without having him undergo an autopsy,” Yusron said on Friday.
Tamam was buried at the Islam Kuang cemetery in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, and is survived by his wife and three children, who are Malaysian citizens, said Foreign Ministry director for citizen protection Judha Nugraha.
Judha expressed his deepest condolences to the family on behalf of the government.
Malaysia has long been the main destination for Indonesian migrant workers seeking high wages to send back home. The demand has fueled a lucrative yet exploitative foreign labor industry that attracts human traffickers.
An estimated 2 million Indonesians currently work in Malaysia – the largest Indonesian diaspora community in the world. The Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, therefore, has a significant burden to ensure citizen protection.
Christina Aryani, a Golkar Party lawmaker who serves on the House of Representatives’ foreign affairs commission, called on the embassy and the Foreign Ministry to take the tragedy as a moment for evaluation.
“The fact that there are still some people who choose to manually [process legal documents] shows there is a lack of information about the new available mechanisms,” she explained.
The embassy and other stakeholders, she added, must ensure a faster and simpler administrative process in the future, especially considering the costs, such as transportation expenses, that migrant workers must bear for in-person processing. (tjs)