REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi met Penang's Head of State Tun Dato' Haji Abdul Rahman in Penang, Malaysia, on Thursday to call for enhancing the protection of Indonesian citizens in the neighboring country.
The head of government of Penang State welcomed Marsudi in Puri Seri Mutiara and expressed his gratitude for the contribution of the Indonesian workers towards the development of Malaysia, particularly in Penang State, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' official website stated here on Thursday. Marsudi is on a visit to Malaysia from March 15 to 17.
Also read: Minister visits Malaysia to increase protection of Indonesian citizens
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arrmanatha Nasir, during a press briefing on Wednesday, stated that the main purpose of the minister's visit was to boost the protection of Indonesian citizens in Malaysia, particularly in Penang and Johor Bahru. The minister was scheduled to meet the leaders of the two states as well as visit several centers of migrant workers in the two regions.
Previously, on Wednesday, Marsudi held a discussion with Indonesian workers and the management of the KLK Plantation in Ladang Pelam, Kedah, Malaysia. The minister will launch several innovations to be applied in the Consulate General (KJRI) in Penang and Johor Bahru to improve services, such as a tracking system for passport application and cashless service system for consular service, for the protection of Indonesians. Around 1.4 million registered Indonesians live in Malaysia.
In Penang, there are around 80 thousand Indonesians who, most of them, are employed in oil palm plantations or as industry manufacturers, Nasir revealed.
Meanwhile, around 347 thousand Indonesians live in Johor Bahru. What makes Johor Bahru unique is that the Indonesian government's representative in Johor Bahru every year facilitates around 7 thousand Indonesians to return home, Nasir stated. "We can see that in Malaysia, there are a lot of Indonesians facing legal problems. On an average, the two KJRIs provide assistance to those having problems with employment," he noted.
Also, the KJRIs provide assistance to Indonesian citizens who are facing legal problems in connection with drug abuse, murder, and other crimes, including those who are involved in human trafficking cases. The Indonesian government has set three strategies on the protection of its citizens overseas, namely prevention, early detection, and immediate response. "The minister will encourage these three strategies during her visit to the two places," Nasir revealed.