TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government will evaluate the memorandum of understanding on manpower with Taiwan following the revelation of inhuman treatment against Indonesian sailors working onboard Taiwan-flagged vessel on international waters. Manpower Ministry official Soes Hindharno said that Indonesia has proposed revisions to clauses on recruitment, assignment, and protection of workers that was signed by the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office and Taiwan in 2011.
Soes Hindharno explained that the government’s concerns in the revisions include the wage increase, working time limits and rights protection of Indonesian workers in Taiwan. “Failing that, we may [issue] a moratorium on sending of workers in maritime sector to Taiwan,” he said yesterday, January 9, 2017.
There are estimated to be tens of thousands of Indonesian sailors currently working onboard Taiwanese-flagged fishing boats operating on the open sea. Tempo investigation, in cooperation with Taiwan-based The Reporter, revealed that the sailors have been treated badly, working for over 20 hours a day and using forged documents.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that the government is aiming to address the issue. He said that the government will clamp down on agencies who fail to follow proper procedures on sending of sailors to Taiwan. He said that he will hold talks with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri and the Indonesian Workers Placement Agency chief Nusron Wahid.
“The slavery practice on the ocean must be eradicated,” Budi Karya said, in response to Tempo’s investigation report.
Today, the three ministries, together with the Directorate General of Immigration, Marine Affairs and Fishery Minister and Police, will hold a coordinated meeting. Aside from setting revision materials, Soes Hindharno said, they will discuss measures to prevent sending of illegal sailors to Taiwan. “We will also ask Indonesian Consulate General in Taiwan to [tighten] selection [procedures] of migrant worker application in the marine sector,” he said.
Earlier, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri said that he will address problems faced by Indonesian sailors overseas. “We will also improve their skills,” Hanif said.