Jakarta. People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has asked the government to provide assistance for Indonesian migrant workers so they can return home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bambang raised the issue after dozens of migrant workers from Malaysia were forced to find their way back to Indonesia on a boat through illegal route.
Many migrant workers have lost their jobs during the pandemic, the MPR speaker said.
"The government should assist the migrant workers through our embassies so they can get help immediately," Bambang said on Thursday.
He said according to the 2017 Law on Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, the government should coordinate with the host country to send cash, food and health supplies to the workers.
The government should also consider repatriating them, especially those who have been left without an income.
Migrant Workers and Cruise Ship Crew Return Home
Separately, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the government has continued to repatriate Indonesian citizens from abroad, including migrant workers.
More migrant workers have returned from Malaysia than anywhere else.
As of Tuesday, a total of 68,129 have returned by boat (69 percent), buses (18 percent) and planes (13 percent).
"Strict health protocols are followed when they arrive here. We coordinated the protocols with the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy," Retno said in an online press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The minister said 11,505 Indonesian crew members who were working on cruise ships around the world have also arrived back in Indonesia.
Among them were 359 crew workers of the Explorer Dream cruise ship, who arrived on Wednesday at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port, and 375 from the Carnival Splendor cruise ship who arrived the next day at the same port.
Before being taken to hotels in the city for a mandatory one-week quarantine, the crew workers were subjected to rapid testing for Covid-19.
"We're still waiting for 2,339 more workers from 18 cruise ships around the world," Retno said.