The Association of Indonesian Businesspeople [Apindo] urged the Government of RI to prepare for the Asean Economic Community 2015, particularly the Mutual Agreement Recognition [MRAI. So far the MRA format among Asean countries had not been in the domain of schools. "Technically MRA standardization of competence should be the same at Asean level. In schools, MRA should regulate vocational schools," Iftida Yasar, Deputy Secretary General of Apindo disclosed to Business News [17/4].
MEA applied the free flow of human resources/people for 12 sectors in the free market. The categorization : 5 service sectors and 7 trading and industrial sectors. The five service sectors included air service, e-ASEAN, health service, tourism and logistics. The seven sectors included: trading and industry of agro-based products, electronics, fishery, rubber/wood-based products, textile and automotives. Eight professions included: engineers, nurses, architects, surveyors, tourism, medical practitioners, dentists and accountants. The eight fields had adopted the MRA format, i.e. certification of competence within the multilateral agreement context. "In case of English as international language, the problem is perhaps only at home. But technically, without commonly agreed standard of competence, any worker could enter, which would trouble local workers. We cannot prohibit workers from Singapore or the Philippines to work here; but once MRA was in effect, technically the standard should be the same, we can promote competence of our personnel."
MRA was the standard of competence that posed a risk to Indonesian workers, for example AC technicians, car and motorcar mechanics, etc. The condition in Indonesia was still below expectation, because most vocational schools ISMKI were dominated by office administration. And yet the local industry was in need of workers with technical skill like motorcar or AC mechanics. "How many companies need administration workers Very few. What we need are mechanics. Apindo was also expecting the Government, especially the Ministry of Education, to know the real need in the labor market."
Apindo also saw the need for more vocational schools in agriculture, fish cultivation etc. Indonesia's trade structure showed that import of horticulture products kept increasing. The total import of horticulture products had come to trillions of Rupiah. Indonesia must learn from Thailand. “They applied the one village, one product concept. Meaning one village for one type of product. Village A specializing in plantation, and chili plantation. Village B for potatoes and so forth”.
Other problems related to MEA 2015 preparation was: Indonesia's workforce was still dominated by low skill labor, which were among others: drivers, cleaning service, stone-breakers etc, Indonesia was also the biggest sender of low skilled workers abroad. Their level of high skill abroad was still below ideal level. “We have to compete against low skill labor from Bangla Desh. Our workers in Malaysia were now branded as hard-headed, more expensive compared to those from Bangladesh”
High skill labor for domestic need at home in Indonesia was also a threat. Now workers from the Philippines were beginning to storm Indonesia especially accountants, many companies were turning to Filipino workers. They mostly did not demand privileges like high salary. This was in reverse to TKI attitude. “In Indonesia, they demand rights. The working ethos of Philippine workers were also better than Indonesian workers. Apindo kept urging all related parties to be concerned about the matter. Abroad, our low skill workers are edged aside by Bangla Desh workers, at home edged aside by Filipino workers”.
Meanwhile Chairman of the National Executive IDPNI of Apindo Soebronto Laras also saw the same thing. A clear example was Indonesian Migrant Workers [TKI] who impersonated workers from the Philippines. An anecdote had it that a TKI who was learning English was promoted to higher rank: “Our TKI could not speak English, but was trying hard to learn. Armed with some English, they no longer identify themselves as Indonesian. They would say “I'm from the Philippines” Cases as such was already happening in many countries”, Soebronto told Business-News.
The above anecdote proved that a good command of English was part of the criteria of competence Besides, some countries which were previously closed, were now beginning to adopt open door economic system. The clearest example was Myanmar. Industry and manufacturing in Myanmar was developing fast. Even they close 'relatives' like Laos and Cambodia were influenced by Myanmar's progress. The three countries: Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia were also benefiting from the impact of China's economic progress. “We must see Myanmar as a competitor. Competence of their workers and economic stimulus keep progressing”.
The year 2014 was a year full of challenges for the businessworld. Apindo continued to consolidate, especially after the increase of Regional Minimum Wages [UMR]. Worker's demonstrations was unblockable in 2012. Economic growth was reduced drastically. In 2013, the gloom in industrial relationship seemed to narrow room for social dialogue. Worker's demonstrations and factory invasion to refuse delay of wages increase were haunting specter to businesspeople. Although finally by end of 2013 the situation turned favorable, it did not last long. President SBY issued Presidential Instruction Impress No.9/2013 followed by Regulation of the Ministry of Labor No 7/2013. "but the condition did not turn any better, because Rupiah was depreciated to USD 12,000 against USD."
Projecting the economic development trend 2015, Apindo continued to review various Government Policy. Businesspeople were expecting there would be a point of agreement with workers by Government facilitation. The tripartite agreement was still rated as effective; but academicians, avocation practitioners of industrial relationship were expected to come up with empiric data of the condition afield. “A good format of industrial relationship in the future is our expectation. This refers to the message of the Law for harmonious, dynamic and just industrial relationship”. (SS)
Business New - April 23, 2014