Malaysia Urged to Give Details In Death of Migrant Workers
Migrant worker advocates have lent their voice to the government’s calls for answers from Malaysia in the killing of three Indonesians there by the police this month.
Lily Pujiati, the coordinator of the Migrant Workers Care coalition, said during the weekend that the Malaysian authorities’ explanation that the three men were shot after firing at the police following an attempted burglary last Tuesday should not be taken at face value.
She called on the government to be critical of the explanation and push for an open inquiry to avoid similar incidents in the future.
“We still don’t know whether the workers really were engaged in criminal activity or if that was just an excuse by the Malaysian police, because the victims had valid working permits,” Lily said.
She added that it was important that the Indonesian government do more to protect its citizens in Malaysia and elsewhere, given that the latest incident was the second of its kind this year.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed last week that three men were killed by the police at the Templer Saujana Rawang housing estate in the city of Rawang, Selangor state, at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday during a suspected burglary.
They said Malaysian authorities believed the three were trying to break into a house when they were stopped by the police. The men tried to escape in a stolen car, leading to a high-speed chase on the freeway.
Malaysia authorities said the men opened fire at the pursuing police vehicles, forcing officers to fire back, hitting the men and killing them. The victims have since been identified as Hasbullah, 25, and Sumardiono, 35, both from Lumajang district in East Java, and Marsudi, 28, from Bangkalan district, also in East Java.
Their bodies were brought home by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, working with Migrant Workers Care and the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI).
The incident mirrors another case on March 30, when police shot dead three migrant workers from East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, also on suspicion of criminal conduct.
M. Kholili, chairman of the East Java chapter of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (SBMI), called on the government to stop sending migrant workers to Malaysia in light of the recent killings and past cases of worker abuse.
“It would be far better to allow our workers to go to other countries that are more committed to protecting workers, such as Hong Kong or Singapore,” he said.
“Far too many Indonesian workers have fallen victim to violence by the police and employers in Malaysia. Yet the Indonesian government’s response has always been slow and many of the cases remain unresolved.”