IO – The issuance of Presidential Decree (Peraturan Presiden – “Perpres”) Number 20 year 2018 concerning the Utilization of Foreign Workers (Tenaga Kerja Asing – “TKA”), reveals how President Joko Widodo and his government are panicking in the effort to claw in fresh investment funds, in order to realize the high target and missed deadlines of infrastructure construction they have set themselves, nearing the Presidential Elections (Pemilihan Presiden – “Pilpres”) of 2019.
I believe that this Perpres will sacrifice local workers who will not be able to benefit from the job opportunities that are coming along with these foreign investments. This would even worsen if the arrival of investment is linked to the arrival of unskilled workers who arrive directly from China. Never mind the Perpres – even without the Perpres, Chinese laborers flood into Indonesia in direct violation of Law Number 13 year 2003 and the Constitution of 1945.
Law No. 13, year 2003, firmly prohibits unskilled TKA from working in Indonesia. The only TKA allowed to work here must demonstrate they have skills such as high-tech machinist, international law expert, international accountant, etc. There are also the provisions that TKA must be able to speak Indonesian, and 1 (one) TKA must be teamed up with 10 (ten) local workers, in order to effect a transfer of knowledge and transfer of job skills.
With this Perpres, which makes it easier for TKA to enter this nation, we can expect that a number of unskilled Chinese TKA’s entering Indonesia will increase in manifold numbers, getting paid much better and forcing local workers to sit around starving in their own country. For example, a forklift operator in a Chinese-funded company that produces steel in Pulogadung, Jakarta, would receive a paycheck of about Rp 10 million a month, while an Indonesian worker doing the same work in the same company, is paid only Rp 3.6 million a month – only about a third of what the Chinese TKA earns.
An LSI survey states that one of the issues that might potentially reduce President Joko Widodo’s electability is the TKA issue. The issuance of this Perpres will impair the people’s trust in Joko Widodo even more, and it is not impossible that many will not vote for him again in 2019.
The irony is that the current foreign worker regulations are already quite lenient – for example, workers from several countries can enter without a visa, and the obligation to be able to speak Indonesian is eliminated. By making TKA permits to be even more lenient, the Government ignores and violates the Constitution of 1945, possibly making the president liable for violation of the Constitution. Therefore, on behalf of Indonesian laborers in general and KSPI in particular, I demand that:
- Perpres No. 20 year 2018 be revoked, because it threatens local laborers by denying them job opportunities;
- The arriving TKAs must all be skilled workers. Unskilled workers must be banned, particularly if they come from China;
- The provisions of Law No. 13 year 2003 relating to TKA must be complied with;
- The DPR should establish a Special Commission (Panitia Khusus – “Pansus”) on TKA (not merely Working Committee (Panitia Kerja – “Panja”)) that includes among others members of Commission IX, Commission III, and Commission I, because masses of unskilled workers arriving are a threat to Indonesia’s national security and sovereignty.