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Indonesia cancels plan to sue errant Malaysian employers

Updated On: Feb 22, 2005

Kuala LumpurIndonesiahas decided to drop a planned legal action against Malaysian employers who allegedly failed to pay wages of their illegalIndonesiaworkers. The issue had threatened to undermine the erstwhile close relations between the two neighbours.

Jakartahad earlierappointed 10 lawyers inMalaysiato sue errantMalaysianemployers. The moveupset Kuala Lumpurwhich felt that it had gone out of its way to accommodate Jakarta on the illegal immigrants' issue.

On Feb 18, however,Indonesian Labour Minister Fahmi Idris saidJakartawould not proceed with the legal action.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the decision was a testimony of the positive outcome of talks between Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Indonesian President Susilo BambangYudhoyono during the latter’s visit toMalaysia last week.

"This problem actually cannot be solved by taking legal action. We have to do it through administrative means and negotiations, and the governmentis prepared to co-operate," Mr Najib said when asked to comment on Mr Fahmi’s statement.

Malaysiahas some 800,000 illegal immigrants, with Indonesians forming the biggest group. The Malaysian government has announced that it would end its amnesty for illegal workersthis month and would start arresting and deporting them from March 1. The amnesty had earlier been extended at theIndonesianPresident’s request.

* Open policy will boost growth (New Straits Times, Feb 20)