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18 Sep 2023

Fatimah Zainal, The Star (Malaysia)

Malaysia: Indonesian ambassador attributes improved treatment of migrants in agriculture & electronics to companies' fair recruitment efforts, but flags undercounts of abuse

"Envoy: Forced labour still an issue,"

While complaints of the abuse of migrant workers in the plantation and electronic industries have dropped in the past two years, reports of forced labour remain high for those in the domestic sector, says Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Hermono.

He attributed the general improvement on the treatment of migrant workers in plantation companies and electronic industries to these two sectors having adopted ethical and fair recruitment practices...

“Reports of abuse (in the two sectors) have also decreased significantly. However, reports of forced labour remain high for those who are working in the domestic sector..." [said Hermono]...

There were 254 cases with elements of forced labour handled by the embassy from January to July 2023, with the most common abuse being the withholding of wages, said Hermono.

“For example, now we are handling unpaid wages of between 10 and 19 years.

“Of those cases, we have been able to settle 132 cases out of court and recovered unpaid wages of more than RM1.8mil,” he said.

Other common types of abuse handled by the embassy are restriction of movement, retention of identity documents and excessive workload, he said...