Camelia Pasandaran, Ismira Lutfia & Ulma Haryanto
The government is considering a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the execution of Indonesian maid Ruyati Binti Sapubi for murdering her employer.
“It would be better to have a moratorium,” Heru Lelono, a presidential spokesman, said on Monday. “The Saudi court did not inform the Indonesian government about the execution [on Saturday], which shows ill will in regard to the relationship between the two countries.”
He added that it was important for the government to send migrant workers only to countries where their human rights would be respected.
“It’s not inconceivable that the same fate could befall another Indonesian worker,” Heru said.
“The Manpower Ministry must thus set guidelines and tighten the regulations for worker placement agencies. These agencies should not be absolved of all responsibility for the workers after finding them jobs. They should be accountable for any legal problems.”
In another development, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he had recalled the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the case.
“We have recalled our ambassador [Gatot Abdullah Mansyur] for consultation to get a clearer picture of the problem so that we can evaluate it accordingly,” the minister said.
Marty said the move was meant to show that Indonesia was taking serious measures in response to the execution.
“We are doing this also in consideration of the need to maintain the highest communication level possible in Jeddah so that this problem receives proper attention,” he said.
The minister denied that Ruyati’s execution was a result of failed Indonesian diplomacy, although he did admit that the government was not aware that the execution had taken place on Saturday.
“We are very disappointed and this is very unacceptable,” he said. “We deplore the Saudi Arabian government for doing this without notification.”
Separately, Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said 22 Indonesian citizens remained on death row in Saudi Arabia.
He said they were among 316 Indonesians in jail there for various offenses. Patrialis said the government had persuaded the Saudi authorities not to proceed with the execution of those on death row, on the condition that the workers were pardoned by the victims’ families.