An Indonesian lawmaker has urged her government to look into the plight of Indonesian citizens working in Malaysia who are under a movement control order (MCO) because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Christina Aryani of the Golkar Party said the livelihoods of Indonesians in Malaysia are severely affected because of the MCO, which was issued two weeks ago and will continue until mid-April, according to The Jakarta Post.
“Many of our migrant workers in Malaysia are construction workers, factory workers, waitresses or janitors. They are paid daily or weekly,” she said in a statement on Friday.
Aryani said she has received reports of Indonesian citizens struggling to meet basic needs 10 days after the MCO was imposed.
“They need food aid immediately. We have urged the government to send them food via the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur,” she said, adding that the workers also desperately need face masks.
“I hope the government can ensure that both urgent needs (are met) for our migrant workers,” she said.
On March 18, Malaysia enforced the MCO to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. The order was initially set to expire on March 31, but Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that it would be extended to April 14.
The director of the Indonesian Citizen Resolution Centre in Malaysia, Datuk M Zainul Arifin, said many migrant workers are afraid they might go hungry.
“Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia aren’t afraid of Covid-19, they are afraid that they will be starving since they can no longer work,” he said, according to Kompas.com.
Zainul said the problem is worsened by the fact that many are in Malaysia illegally.
“Many of them are illegal immigrants, and some don’t have the necessary permits for their jobs. For example, they have a permit to work at a plantation but work at a restaurant instead. That means they don’t have employers or bosses who can legally take care of them,” he added.