Indonesia, Malaysia to sign new labor pact next week

15:08, May 15, 2010      

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Indonesian manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said that Indonesia and Malaysia will sign a new labor agreement to provide legal protection which will reopen the supply of Indonesian migrant workers to Malaysia, local media reported here on Saturday.

The minister said that the agreement is expected to be signed during Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's official visit to Malaysia on Tuesday nest week.

"I visited Kuala Lumpur on Monday and Tuesday, meeting with my Malaysian counterpart and preparing the signing of the new labor agreement. Both delegations were enthusiastic and optimistic about solving any technical problem a few days before (the labor treaty) is signed," the minister was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying after his arrival from his recent visit to Malaysia.

The agreement's draft contains four crucial points. It deals with migrant workers maintaining access their own working passport and ensures their rights to at least one day off per week, recruitment fees and the minimum wage.

Under the current labor pact, Indonesian migrant workers have their passports held by their Malaysian employers, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in the workplaces.

Some 2 million Indonesians working in Malaysia, most of whom are employed as domestic helpers and plantation workers.

Rife labor abuses have drawn criticism from the International Human Rights Watch and led the Indonesian government to suspending labor supply to that country since June last year.

Source: Xinhua
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