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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         29  June 2011

Indonesia to create jobs at home

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The Indonesian government plans to spend Rp 1.4 trillion (US$162.5 million) to create more jobs at home, anticipating a rise in unemployment after a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia goes into effect.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said Monday the government would take the money from Rp 15.1 trillion in budget savings for the National Program for People Empowerment (PNPM), which will target 1.96 million people.

"We agree that over Rp 15 trillion of budget savings will be focused on infrastructure development and for programs that will create more jobs," Hatta said after a meeting to discuss job creation after the moratorium.

National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana said the Rp 1.4 trillion in funds would be used for training and educational programs targeting women in 38 cities and regencies that may suffer the most from the moratorium, including those in West Java, East Java and West Nusa Tenggara.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said he expected the new plan to resolve unemployment fears caused by the moratorium, as 15,000 to 20,000 workers are sent every month to Saudi Arabia.

"The PNPM funds will be used to train and educate women to be productive and increase their skills in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, crafts and entrepreneurship," he said, adding that he hoped the women would find jobs readily afterward.

The move came following a nationwide outcry after the beheading of Indonesian maid Ruyati bin Satubi by Saudi authorities after she was found guilty of murdering what she called her abusive Saudi employer.

The Indonesian government announced last week it would halt the sending of migrant workers, mostly maids, to Saudi Arabia starting on Aug. 1 until an agreement was reached between the two countries regarding a better recruitment system and protection for Indonesian migrant workers in the Middle Eastern nation.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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