Sat, 06 Aug 1994

Singapore firms bypass proper rules to recruit RI workers

JAKARTA (JP): Local manpower supply companies are complaining that Singapore employment agencies have been recruiting Indonesian workers directly from rural areas, bypassing standard procedures.

KINAS, the association of manpower supply companies with markets in Singapore and Malaysia, said such practices have hurt their traditional business. The local firms are demanding that the government take actions to stop the Singaporeans.

"We recently found that many Singaporeans, in cooperation with local companies, have come to Cilacap, Malang and other small towns in Java to directly recruit Indonesian workers," KINAS Chairman Anthon Sihombing told a press conference yesterday.

"This is in violation of the immigration law and represents a breach of an agreement KINAS signed with Singapore employment agencies," Anthon said.

He said he had the names of Singapore companies which are indulging in such practices and would give them to the government.

Not members

The Singapore companies collaborate with local manpower supply companies, which are not members of KINAS, to help them send the workers their agents have personally picked in the villages.

He warned that workers recruited this way usually have weak bargaining power and tend to be underpaid when they work in Singapore.

KINAS has set a monthly minimum wage of S$220 for Indonesian workers employed in Singapore, and all of its members are obliged to provide a two-month training course in English and in some vocational skill.

Anthon said KINAS and similar Singapore organizations would hold a meeting here next month to find ways to solve the Indonesian labor problem.

He said the meeting is expected to recommend that their two governments limit the number of Indonesian companies supplying workers to Singapore and Malaysia and the number of employment agencies in Singapore allowed to handle Indonesian workers. (rms)