M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – The spokesman for Muhammad Jusuf "JK" Kalla, Husain Abdullah, responded to the statement by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, who acknowledged the existence of Chinese manual laborers in nickel smelter construction projects such as in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.
According to Husain, Luhut's statement indirectly confirmed that during the construction of the smelter in 2014, almost all factory construction workers, including welders, were sourced from China.
"The current conditions are different, it must be admitted that the operational stage no longer requires manual labor," said Husain in his statement on Friday, November 4, 2022.
Luhut's statement was previously intended to answer Jusuf Kalla's accusation that the nickel smelter workers were mostly brought in from China.
"[Indonesia] is a nickel-rich area, but workers are Chinese, from the mainland to welders," said JK.
Responding to JK's criticism, Luhut said that Chinese manual laborers were only employed in the initial stage of the smelting projects such as in 2014, he then insisted that many of the workers at these locations are local residents.