First Experience on Malaysian Soil

I (TP) went to the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta today to see about a visa for our six months in Malaysia.  You see, the embassy is technically part of Malaysia, so technically I’ve now been to Malaysia.  OK, whatever.  Things look pretty good as far as I can tell for the visa department.  We should be able to obtain a nice six-month visa this time with no real hassle, knock on wood.  We just need one more letter from the Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange, and then things should work out.  So that’s the status with that.

Indonesia and Malaysia are in the news today because the Malaysian government is about ready to crack down on illegal workers, and most of them are Indonesians.  There have been a number of high-profile deportations lately, but the Malaysian government is going to try something new this time by empowering ordinary Malaysian citizens to find and report illegal workers.  In return, the Malaysian government has promised to pay them for each illegal that they find.  While I’m all in favor of market solutions to government problems, I just can’t help but think that this might backfire in some way.

There’s another side to this issue…some in Malaysia and Indonesia are crying foul because of the circumstances under which Indonesian laborers came to Malaysia.  You see, the Malaysian government has been building a new administrative capital in Putrajaya–near Kuala Lumpur–and the gossip is that government contractors employed cheap illegal labor with the tacit approval of the Prime Minister and other bigwigs.  Now that the work is almost over, the government wants to get rid of the laborers.  Hmm.

Comments 4

  1. Matt Glassman December 26, 2004

    Is everything ok with you guys post-earthquake? Please let us al know. Mattt

  2. Jeff December 27, 2004

    Hello to anyone checking the blog to see if Tom and Julie are OK after the earthquake. We have word that they are fine.
    I just talked with Tom’s grandmother, who spoke with Eli by phone a little while ago, and he told her that Tom left a text message on Sandy’s phone saying that Jakarta is 1000 miles from the earthquake and he and Julie are fine.

  3. Julie and Tom December 27, 2004

    Hey, that pretty much sums it up. We’re 1000 miles from the epicenter, and several miles inland, plus our apartment is on the eleventh floor. So we’re safe from tsunamis!

  4. fazu December 27, 2004

    Welcome to Malaysia, even if technically!
    I’ve heard about the Putrajaya rumours. Sounds like business as usual over here…Sigh.

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