There are an estimated 200 million people in the world today who fit the definition of being an “immigrant.” President Susilo Barnbang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badwai of Malaysis are trying to resolve problems arising from the influx into Malaysia of large numbers of Indonesian migrant workers. They are drawn by the attraction of better paying jobs than what they can find in their own country. A major issue is the lack of protection afforded Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia. Indonesia’s foreign minister urged the Malaysian government to “speed up the process oto grant migrant wrkers identification cards” that could serve as a substitute for passports. Indonesian officials are upset that in many cases employers seize passports which allows them to maintain strict control of the migrant workers.
It is estimated last year about 48 Indonesian migrant workers died under mysterious circumstances. It is also believed about 1,500 Indonesian maids flee from employers each monthdue to abuse, long working hours or low pay. There is little question Indonesian migrant complaints get short shrift in Malaysian courts. Perhaps, at some point, there is need for some global approach to the global issue of migration.