Indonesia has agreed to stop sending its migrant workers to Malaysia with effect from August 1, after neighbours allayed concerns about workers’ rights, according to statements from both countries on Thursday.
The entry of migrant workers will help Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil and an essential link in the global supply chain – ease the shortage of some 1.2 million workers.
Indonesia this month temporarily stopped sending its citizens to work in Malaysia, including thousands recruited for the plantation sector, citing a breach in an agreement aimed at improving the protection of domestic workers employed in Malaysian households.
Jakarta agreed to resume sending its workers after both countries agreed to trial a single channel to facilitate the recruitment and entry of Indonesian workers, Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan said in a statement.
Indonesia’s Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah announced separately that both parties agreed to resume recruitment of workers from August 1, depending on whether the implementation of the commitments made in the agreement is effective.
Malaysia’s immigration authorities had previously used an online recruitment system for domestic workers linked to trafficking and forced labour allegations.
Millions of foreign workers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal depend on staff plantation and factory jobs.
But despite lifting the pandemic-induced moratorium on recruitment in February, Malaysia has yet to see a significant return of workers due to slow government approvals and protracted negotiations with source countries on employee safety.