Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — Malaysia wants to bring in more Bangladeshi workers as employees from the South Asian nation display greater loyalty than other nationalities, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament today.
In the Home Ministry’s 2016 Budget winding-up speech, Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister, said that Bangladesh nationals could also be trusted to man cash counters and managing petrol kiosks, among others.
“I must tell you without prejudice, in Malaysia we prefer Bangladeshi workers because the loyalty shown by Bangladeshi workers are better than those from other countries.
“They are more trustworthy when manning cash registers and petrol kiosks,” he said when responding to a query from Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.
Dr Siti Mariah, from Parti Amanah Negara, had asked Ahmad Zahid to explain the need to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi migrant workers into the country, likening it to modern day “legitimate” human trafficking.
Ahmad Zahid rubbished Dr Siti Mariah’s claim, however, and said that the Bangladeshi workers are first in trained in their home country and taught cross-cultural communication to enable them to understand and fit in here in Malaysia.
“It is easy to claim that this is about money, that this is about taking in modern slavery… that’s why we do coordination with the Bangladesh government,” he said in reply.
Ahmad Zahid also clarified that the contract to bring in the workers has not yet been signed.
The proposed project to bring in the Bangladeshi workers previously sparked controversy after reports claimed that the contract was to be awarded to Ahmad Zahid’s brother, businessman Datuk Abdul Hakim Hamidi.
The Home Ministry also previously denied a report claiming that Ahmad Zahid had ordered it to award a management system contract for Bangladeshi workers to his brother’s company, but later admitted to The Star newspaper in August that there was a “note” on the working paper submitted by Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd ― where Abdul Hakim sits as executive chairman.
The ministry did not divulge further details on the note, but stressed that it did not amount to a directive or approval for the contract award.
On October 20, Ahmad Zahid named Synerflux as the ministry’s choice for the task, after ministry and immigration officials evaluated proposal letters submitted and discussed the using an online system to bring in workers from the South Asian country.
The minister noted, however, that the deal has not been finalised as Malaysia and Bangladesh work towards a final agreement on the labour deal.
In a written Parliamentary reply to DAP lawmaker for Klang, Charles Santiago, Ahmad Zahid said that Putrajaya currently employs a government-to-government approach when hiring Bangladeshi workers.
Source: Malay Mail Online
Address: Wisma MTUC,10-5, Jalan USJ 9/5T, 47620 Subang Jaya,Selangor | Tel: 03-80242953 | Fax: 03-80243225 | Email: email@example.com