Purwanto: I Will Survive for My Family


Illustration by Alamsyah Muhammad

Purwanto bin Sudaryanto (32), Indonesian migrant worker from Sojomerto village, Batang, Central Java, was sent to Saudi Arabia by  PT Marba on September 2006. He wished to write a successful story from his journey but he had to swollen a bitter experience. He ran from his first employer, Al-Ghomas, after 75 days working as driver. He didn’t get any salary and treated disrespectfully.

Runaway from his employer, according to law in Arab, is a violation of the law.

“I was sheltered by a friend of mine. He made me a fake ID for job seeking purpose, it cost me 1200 Riyal. I got 800 riyal per month and I can only save 500 of them (around 1,2 million IDR) which is unequal to how hard the work as handling asphalt. I could get more than just this, with my experience as interprovince and inter island bus driver.” said Purwanto to Fathulloh on the social media interview.

Later on, Purwanto married to fellow Indonesian workers in Arab. Until 2011, he has been working to many employer, which never lasts more than 7 months (in average, he used to work only for 1 or 2 months, or even only for couple days).

When Indonesian government, through BNP2TKI (Indonesian Migrant Workers Board) announce its plan to return 1.660 over stayer workers from Arab on Sunday-Monday October 30-31, 2011), Purwanto who is currently live in Jeddah, decided to stay.

“I chose not to go back home , for the sake of my wife and our little baby. I could let them live in shelter. I might stay for a year and go back to Indonesia, though I still figuring out how do I return home, but I am sure there will be a way. I want to collect some money and buy a truck in Indonesia for me to earn a living,” said a man who loves to share many information on migrant worker issue via social networking media.

According to Purwanto, there are thousands of over stayer who were also refuse to register on governments program to return them back to Indonesia. They are spread in many spots in Arab Saudi using fake ID and used to work to one employer to another, stay in different places also avoid to meet Arabian authorities, especially cops.

Purwanto wishes that Indonesian Embassy in Arab may be a facilitator among workers and their employer, in order to avoid his kind of experience happen in the future.

“Without rebuilding a better relation among worker and its employer, returning the over stayer will have no benefit, since the main issue lies on the cause of over stayer issue itself. Its like weeping on spilled water but left the water flows from the tap,” Purwanto concluded.

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