KOTAKINABALU September 30, 2011: Only a small number of workers from Indonesia actually go for health checks as required of them by the Malaysian government.
Irwan Nadzif of the National Population and Family Development Board when presenting his paper entitled: ‘Factor, Information Network and Indonesian workers migrating experience in Tawau’ at a seminar held at a hotel here yesterday, said about 35 per cent of them went for the health check.
He also said that about 70 per cent of the workers from Indonesia sought health assistance at government hospitals and clinics.
The remaining would go to private healthcare providers and the costs were paid for by their employers, he said.
Irwan also disclosed that about 70 per cent of Indonesian migrant workers had children born in Sabah.
“About 40 per cent of the children were born in hospitals, while the remaining were born at home,” he said.
He added that many illegal migrant workers from Indonesia exited Sabah for Nunukan (Indonesia) to apply for new passports that bore different names.
Once they had the new passport, they again entered Sabah, he said.
Meanwhile, speaker Siti Norlasiah Ismail in her proposal following the study on migrant workers in Tawau conducted in 2010 said the majority of migrant workers from Indonesia that came to Sabah were males below 40 years old.
They are of the Bugis ethnicity and are from Sulawesi.
“The majority of them work at the plantation and manufacturing sectors and earn between RM500 to RM1,499. This salary is categorized as poor or at poverty level,” she said.
She added that many were married with their wives and children residing with them in Sabah.
“Most of the children were born here and are allowed to enjoy the education facility in the country as we are signatory to the Children’s Rights Convention (CRC),” she said.
She also said that most of the migrant workers arrived in Sabah with their relatives.
The main factors for their migration to Sabah are location (Sabah is near to Indonesia), family connection (relatives are in Sabah) and the availability of work with higher income possibility.
They are mainly employed in four sectors – plantation, manufacturing, service and construction.
“Many of them work for 26 days a month or more.”
She also said the bulk of the workers from Indonesia remit money back to their families in Indonesia.
The existence of their children at schools had also resulted in limited education source for local children, she said.
“The number of pupils per class is more than average and this makes teaching more challenging,” she said.
Additionally, the arrival of migrant workers in Sabah had resulted in the resurfacing of infectious diseases that were controlled at one point in time, she said.
Among these are tuberculosis and hepatitis.