Indonesia will temporarily stop sending university students to study and work in Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, after reports that participants were made to work menial jobs and eat pork there.
Taiwanese legislator Ko Chih-en said last week that 300 Indonesian students enrolled at Hsing Wu University were forced to work four days a week at a factory for 10 hours per shift, Taiwan News reported on Wednesday.
They were allowed to attend classes two days a week and have one day of rest, the report said.
Ko also alleged in the report that the students were given meals containing pork even though most of them were Muslims. Consumption of pork and products made of pork is prohibited in Islam.
“Indonesia will temporarily stop sending students under the study-internship programme until an agreement is made on better arrangements,” Foreign Ministry spokesman, Arrmanatha Nasir, said in a statement.
More than 6,000 Indonesians are studying in Taiwan, including 1,000 under the scholarship-internship programme enrolled at eight universities, the foreign ministry said.
Taipei’s de facto embassy, the Taiwan Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta, denied the report, saying the students were treated well.
“Reports that Indonesian students were subjected to forced labour are not true, neither are allegations that they were made to eat pork,’’ TETO Chairman, John Chen said on Friday.
Chen said students could object to working part-time.