House Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah has likened the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to a tyrant after one of its prosecutors mentioned his name and the name of fellow Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon in relation to a tax evasion case currently before the court. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

'We're Not Beggars in Foreign Lands,' Indonesian Migrant Workers Tell House Deputy Speaker

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO & EKO PRASETYO

JANUARY 25, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesian migrant workers have deplored a recent tweet by House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah in an official press statement and on social media.

A group calling themselves "I Love Indonesia Circle" (Lingkaran Aku Cinta Indonesia, or LACI), which claims to represent Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong, demanded that Fahri make a public apology for saying that migrant workers have become beggars in foreign lands.

The tweet, which has since been deleted from the lawmaker's Twitter account @Fahrihamzah, said "Our people have been begging and becoming maids in other countries, while foreign workers thrive [in Indonesia]."

The group also pulled Fahri up for another comment from October, in which he said that 30 percent of Indonesian workers in Hong Kong have Aids or HIV, and 1,000 of them have become pregnant while working abroad.

"Today, we were hurt again by your tweet mocking our work, by your calling us 'maids that beg in foreign lands,'" LACI said in the press statement on Tuesday (24/01).

"Are you aware that your words have undermined our dignity and the self-esteem of the 'foreign exchange heroes' who remit around $7.4 billion to Indonesia's economy? According to the data we acquired from a Hong Kong NGO, a migrant worker supports up to nine family members in his or her hometown. Have you thought about it before you went on to mock us?"

Numerous migrant workers have posted comments on Beritasatu.com's Facebook account:

"I am a migrant worker and I am offended by Fahri's statement. Maid's job is also an honest job, I wonder if he forgot that part of the state's income comes from us. And maybe, it is even used to pay for his own salary to sit around and do nothing at the House. Use your brain first, sir, then talk," wrote Ida Rose Nunny.

"Dear bro, we never thought of you as our representative! You have an issue with Chinese foreign workers in Indonesia, then find solutions, support the government! Do not blame others! Once again, Fahri, do not take us as your excuse to appear concerned, we do not need your pity [...] and remember, we are not beggars. Watch your mouth," wrote Papah Roy.

"Do not be arrogant, honorable councilman. We, migrant workers, do not beg. You are a beggar, begging people to vote for you to be able to seat on your current chair," wrote Kang Giotak.

Twitter user @Takviri took a screenshot of Fahri's tweet and said "Righteous members of the House must report @Fahrihamzah to the ethics council for going so low and undermining the foreign exchange heroes."

Meanwhile, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri has tweeted: "I am a son of a maid. My mother worked as a migrant worker with all dignity. She did not beg, did not hurt people, did not steal the nation's money. I am proud of my mother."

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