Migrant Care Says Prabowo ‘Jumped in Last Minute’ on Wilfrida Case

Indonesian migrant workers wait to exit a Saudi ship at Tanjung Priok Port, in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Udhi Sukma Wijaya)

Jakarta. Migrant workers’ advocacy group Migrant Care on Monday accused presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto of trying to score easy political points by taking public credit for efforts to save Indonesian domestic worker Wilfrida Soik from facing the death penalty for killing her 60-year-old Malaysian employer, in a case that riveted Indonesia.

“Prabowo only joined the case in September 2013,” Migrant care director Anis Hidayah said. “It’s safe to say that he jumped in last minute.”

Advocacy work on Wilfrida’s case began in 2010 with her arrest in Kelantan, Malaysia. Migrant Care, along with Malaysian activist Alex Wong, were involved from the beginning.

When the issue was brought before the House of Representatives, Prabow’s party — the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) — did not want to get involved, the NGO said.

The legislator’s response on the issue was facilitated by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Rieke Diah Pitaloka — a member of the same party as Prabowo’s opponent in the July 9 presidential election, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo — along with Lerry Mboik from the East Nusa Tenggara Regional Legislative Council (DPD), as a representative from Wilfrida’s province of origin.

Deputy Speaker of the House Pramono Anung sent a letter to the Malaysian government asking for clemency.

“Once the reporting of this Wilfrida case got big, Prabowo joined the advocacy, especially after Migrant Care managed to prove that Wilfrida was sent abroad when she was still underage and within the moratorium period,” Anis said.

Prabowo’s contribution was limited to providing an additional lawyer to the legal team sent by the Indonesian Embassy, she said.

“Migrant Care is protesting Prabowo’s gesture to make Wilfrida’s case a tool in his campaign, let alone if he uses it as a compensation for the lack of migrant workers’ protection plans in his program,” she said.

In the third presidential debate on Sunday, Prabowo cited his role in the Wilfrida case as evidence of his strength on migrant workers’ issues.

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