FM Retno Ends Visit to Malaysia, Bolsters Protection for Indonesian Migrant Workers

Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi ended a three-day visit to the Malaysian states of Penang and Johor on Thursday (16/03). The trip aimed at increasing social protection for Indonesian migrant workers.

According to data released by the Foreign Ministry, there are currently more than 1.4 million Indonesian nationals residing in Malaysia. During her visit, Retno met with a small number of those living in Penang and Johor – two states with the highest number of Indonesian residents.

Retno’s trip focused on interacting with Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) at their places of employment, as most Indonesians working in Malaysia are employed at palm oil plantations and industrial factories.

While many TKI are legally allowed to seek employment in Malaysia, there is still an alarming number of Indonesians working illegally in the neighboring country. Many of them face mistreatment by employers and some have even fallen victim to human trafficking networks.

On Thursday, Retno met with Penang Governor Abdul Rahman, who expressed his gratitude for the Indonesian workers’ contribution to development projects both in Penang and across Malaysia.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir, Retno will not visit Kuala Lumpur with regard to the criminal case against Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, who was allegedly involved in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

He added that the legal process is already underway and government-appointed lawyers have met with the accused three times to prepare for her defense.

Retno’s visit to the cities of Penang and Johor is the first by an Indonesian foreign minister in thirty years.

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