98 Indonesian migrant workers returned to their home country from Brunei Darussalam with the efforts of the Indonesian Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan earlier in May. The Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Dr Sujatmiko led the initiative with the help of several staff members of the Indonesian Embassy in the capital city. International flights have been suspended by the Brunei government since March 23 in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Therefore, a special flight of Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) was organized by the embassy to facilitate the task. The Indonesian Embassy also provided each passenger with gloves, masks, and health alert cards issued by the Indonesian Health Ministry. Among the 98 returnees, there were four pregnant women who wanted to return home amid the global health crisis.
According to a statement released by the embassy, the expenses of the tickets were borne by the passengers. The Indonesian Ambassador stated that the special flight was operated to secure the migrant workers who got stranded in Brunei after the pandemic hit the country in March 2020.
“The special flight was made possible through the cooperation of the Indonesian Embassy, the Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam in Jakarta, and the airlines after the migrant workers sought help from the embassy to return home as they were unable to due to the unavailability of flights to Indonesia,” said DrSujatmiko.
“The special flight was made possible through the cooperation of the Indonesian Embassy, the Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam in Jakarta, and the airlines after the migrant workers sought help from the embassy to return home as they were unable to due to the unavailability of flights to Indonesia,” said DrSujatmiko in the statement.
Notably, Indonesian diplomatic missions in various countries have been taking extraordinary initiatives to protect the rights of migrant workers stranded in foreign countries due to the global lockdown. Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and its consulate offices in Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Tawau have distributed food packages to Indonesian workers stuck in Malaysia. In Australia, the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney provided aid packages to 210 Indonesians (with Work and Holiday Visas) who lost their jobs due to the health crisis.
In April, the Indonesian Embassy in Sri Lanka’s Colombo helped in the repatriation of 335 Indonesian migrant workers from Sri Lanka after their lost their jobs due to the closure of businesses in the country. These embassies have stated that hundreds of workers have been facing difficulties due to salary cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and termination of employment rights in various countries in the aftermath of socio-economic ramifications of the Coronavirus pandemic.