Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Jakarta, Sept 8, 2015 (Antara) - Some Indonesians are becoming increasingly wary about the possible growth in the influx of foreign workers into the country.
        These concerns were intensified following President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) decision to scrap the requirement that foreigners working in Indonesia should master Indonesia's national language -- the Bahasa, and hold a Temporary Stay Permit (KITAS).
        The head of state had said during a recent Cabinet meeting that these two regulations need to be removed because they have hampered the government¿s efforts to create a conducive climate for investors.
        Foreign workers being mandated to speak Indonesian is a regulation formulated by the Manpower Ministry. Meanwhile, the requirement to hold a KITAS has been mentioned under the 2011 Immigration Law.    

   Eliminating the requirement to speak Bahasa for foreign workers had worried some parties. They thought it would make it easy for foreign workers to work here and reduce employment opportunities for domestic workers.

        On September 1, a number of workers in Jakarta, and several other cities in the country, had led rallies to demand, among others, a reduction in the number of foreign workers allowed to work in the country.
        However, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has tried to convince the public that the presence of foreign workers in the country will not threaten the livelihoods of local workers.
        "Foreign workers come here to work on projects that also create jobs for Indonesian workers. Do not think they come here to only compete with Indonesian workers," he said at his office on September 2.
        The Vice President said a number of foreign companies investing in Indonesia were also creating more jobs for the Indonesian people.
        Investors, who come to Indonesia, he said, also bring along qualified foreign workers who have special capabilities, such as technicians and project supervisors.
        "Investment projects are certainly in need of engineers or supervisors. So, the presence of foreign workers carrying out projects here will also be followed by the creation of jobs for Indonesian workers," he stated.
        Kalla also noted that when Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia implement the ASEAN Economic Community, more job opportunities will be created.
        Meanwhile, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs, Luhut B. Pandjaitan, said the number of foreign workers coming to the country has continued to decline. Until August 2015, their number was pegged at around 54,000, down from 76,000 in 2012.
        Earlier, the Association of Indonesian Young Businessmen (Hipmi), had urged Manpower Minister M. Hanif Dakhiri to protect the domestic labor market from the influx of foreign workers.
        "Hipmi urges Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri to protect the domestic manpower market from the influx of laborers, or unskilled workers from other countries," Hipmi`s SMEs and Manpower Unit Chairman, Yuke Yurike, said in July.
        The Manpower Ministry does not have an effective and reliable policy in place to protect the domestic job market, despite the fact that the country`s industrial and economic growth rates are down, he pointed out.
        The government must create ample job opportunities, as the number of people reaching employment age is also increasing.
        "There are two solutions: protect the existing manpower market and create new job opportunities through entrepreneurship," he stated.
        Furthermore, Lawmaker Heri Gunawan of the Gerindra Party also expressed concerns about the possible influx of Chinese workers coming to Indonesia.
        "It is obviously disadvantageous for Indonesian workers. While several Indonesians are jobless, Chinese citizens come to work in Indonesia. It increases the competition in the country`s job market," Deputy Chairman of Commission VI of the House of Representatives, Gunawan, recently noted in a statement.
        Job opportunities in Indonesia, particularly for skilled and high-level jobs, are being increasingly grabbed by foreigners, especially from China, he emphasized.
        Chinese manual laborers also come to Indonesia in search of jobs, he stated.
        The legislator urged the government to be selective in allowing the entry of foreign workers and to not widely open the country`s doors to foreigners.
        Foreign workers could be allowed to occupy higher level positions in companies only if Indonesians are not able to handle the jobs, he added.
        "This should be followed up. Do not let foreigners dominate every job sector in the country. Besides this, in line with the 1945 Constitution, the government is obliged to provide job opportunities to its people," he remarked.
        The country's rate of unemployment rose from 5.7 percent in 2014 to 5.81 percent in 2015.
        "We are concerned about it. In our own country, Indonesian workers are only able to fill low-level jobs, while the higher-level positions are being filled by foreigners. But, it is even worse that foreigners are also occupying low-level jobs, as a result of which the indigenous people of Indonesia have become mere onlookers in their own country," Gunawan stated.
        He urged the government to evaluate the policy that permits foreigners to occupy all types of jobs in Indonesia.
        Recently, several Lebak inhabitants demanded the Manpower Ministry revoke the work permits of Chinese laborers working on the construction of a cement factory in Lebak, Banten Province.
        "I think the presence of Chinese here has created restlessness among the public, as they do not maintain hygiene and defecate in any place and are also not well educated," Yudi, a local resident of Lebak, said recently.
        He remarked that the Chinese are willing to do manual labor, which the local people are averse to, such as iron welding and cement mixing.
        The Manpower Minister, however, denied reports that there was an influx of Chinese workers into Indonesia.
        The information is not true, as the government is very selective in allowing foreigners to work in Indonesia, the minister said.
        Between January 1, 2014 and May 2015, the ministry issued 41,365 Foreign Workers` Employment Permits (IMTAs) to people from China.
        Of this number, 26,579 worked in trade and services, 11,114 were employed in industry, and 3,672 in agriculture.
        "Currently, some 12,837 Chinese IMTA holders are staying in Indonesia," Minister Dhakiri said in July.
        Later, on August 28, the same minister asked people not to worry about the "invasion" of foreign workers coming to Indonesia as the government has drawn up rules to filter out the foreign workers.
        "Do not worry, because there are many mandatory requirements as per the Manpower Ministerial Regulation, which can be used as an instrument for domestic workers` protection," Dhakiri said.
        Dhakiri stressed that the use of foreign workers in Indonesia was not as easy as feared. The TKA must meet other requirements, such as being able to fill high-level positions available for foreign workers, he added.
        In addition, the terms of use for foreign workers must be accompanied by the use of local labor in the context of transfer of technology and science, which has to be assessed as positive for employment in the country.
        It also regulated that the company recruiting one foreign worker also had to recruit 10 local workers.
        The government also requires more stringent rules, including it being a must for foreign workers to have a certificate of competence or work experience of at least five years, and that there are also certain positions which will be closed to foreign workers.
        In the meantime, the Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Suryo Bambang Sulisto, reminded that expedited infrastructure development projects must be able to consolidate investment flow and regional preparedness, including employing local workers to improve the public`s welfare.
        "The government should consolidate the potential of regional economic sources to ensure that those projects help improve the public`s welfare," Sulisto said recently.
        A consolidation process will be successful if it is supported by synergistic cooperation between the regional governments and business persons.
        The government has opened its doors to foreign investors to invest in infrastructure development projects. Foreign countries have responded positively to the offers, he noted.
        Huge foreign investments, however, are usually accompanied by an influx of foreign workers, he remarked.
        The current phenomenon of foreign worker influx could hinder the government`s goal of creating jobs for the local people in order to improve their welfare, he pointed out.
        "On the other hand, we also need to question whether the local workers are ready to handle huge projects that use the latest technology," Sulisto stated.
        This problem has remained a challenge for Kadin in the region too, he concluded. ***3***


(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 09-09-2015 00:30:42

No comments:

Post a Comment