Master of International Relations Department, Muhammdiyah University of Yogyakarta has conducted MIHI Lecture Series entitled Indonesia – Malaysia Diplomacy on Addressing Education Crisis for Migrant Workers’ Children in Sabah, on Friday, March 9th 2018. Dr. Sidik Jatmika, one of the prominent lecturers at Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta, shared his experience regarding his one week research on Indonesia migrant workers children.
Mr. Jatmika started the lecture with an interesting discussion, “We always associate humanitarian crisis or disaster to natural phenomena, while what happens to migrant workers’ children in Sabah is actually quiet similar with what happens to Rohingya”, Mr. Jatmika said.
It is a heartbreaking fact, there are approximately 50.000 undocumented children; mostly children whose parent work in crude palm oil plantation, they still can not get their right to basic education. There are five hundred thousands Indonesian migrant workers in Sabah, and that does not include the number of illegal migrant workers. As it was told by Mr. Jatmika, “Some of the illegal migrant workers are under-aged illiterate labors who have to leave their hometown due to poverty. They also have to work in ‘Triple D’, or dirty, dangerous, and demeaning sectors.”
Indonesia and Malaysia have actually tried to overcome this problem through bilateral and multilateral mechanism. Some national and international actors have involved in providing CLC or Community Learning Center for migrant workers’ children in Sabah, such as religion based NGO and INGO, Malaysian-Danish Country Programme, and etc.
However, to provide decent education for migrant workers’ children is not that easy, they have to face some barriers, whether regulatory, bureaucratic, cultural, and geographical barriers.
In the end of the discussion, Mr. Ali Maksum, P.hD has given some feedback on Mr. Jatmika research. Mr. Maksum said, “Even though we can not classify education crisis as disaster, however it is still one of the crucial human right issue.” The lecture ended with question and answer from the participants.