Thu, 20 Nov 2003

State secretary defends office

JAKARTA: State Secretary Bambang Kesowo denied allegations his office's incompetence had caused a delay in the deliberation of a bill on the protection of migrant workers.

"That bill has been in the hands of the manpower and transmigration minister (Jacob Nuwa Wea) since Aug. 25," Bambang said during a hearing with House of Representatives's Commission I for political affairs here on Wednesday.

The House has been waiting for the government's response to the bill, which was drafted by legislators.

Bambang said his office received the bill in June and had facilitated a discussion of it with other ministries to study the substance of the bill.

Regarding a stipulation in the bill that the money for the protection of workers will come from both the manpower agency and the state budget, the government has yet to reach an agreement, he said.

Some ministries, Bambang said, felt it was wrong to take money from the state budget for the protection of migrant workers. -- JP