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?
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday acknowledged that the government had failed to send the expected number of workers to Malaysia in the last three years.
Malaysia withdrew a four-year embargo on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in November 2012. Process to hire workers from Bangladesh under the government-to-government (G2G) mechanism was initiated in 2013. But Bangladesh could not cash in on the opportunity due to its failure to convince employers to hire Bangladeshi workers.
Only 7,000 workers had been sent to the Southeast Asian country since the resumption of the recruitment in April 2013, though there was a scope for sending a few lakh by this time.
Mosharraf, who had then told the media that at least 50,000 Bangladeshis would be sent to Malaysia within a year, admitted that the government had failed to ensure the demand for sending workers.
In private recruitment system, irregularities were discovered after some dishonest recruiting agencies had sent more workers than the demand in Malaysia, he said, adding that the government cannot go for collecting demand the way private recruiters do. It can only process the demand.
Now, the government has allowed the private recruiting agencies to send the migrants to Malaysia to speed up the recruitment process, he told reporters at his office in the capital’s Probashi Kallyan Bhaban.
As the Malaysian government has demand for foreign workers, they will hire five lakh workers from Bangladesh for all sectors — construction, manufacture, service and plantation — in the next one year, the minister said.
The announcement of the recruitment of Bangladeshis through a new agreement called Business-to-Business (B-B) mechanism came after a bilateral meeting between Malaysian Home Minister Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Khandker Mosharraf in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya on June 25.
According to the new system, each worker will be recruited for a term of three years with provisions for extension by another year. Explaining the B-B mechanism, the minister said the Malaysian employers would bear all the expenditures while hiring workers from Bangladesh through the private recruiting agencies.
“Migration costs including airfare will not exceed Tk 40,000. The recruiting agencies cannot ask for any additional charges from the jobseekers,” he said, adding that the recruitment process would start after Eid.
The minimum monthly salary of the workers will be RM (Malaysian Ringgit) 900 equivalent to TK 18,000 each, the minister said.
Replying to a query about the five lakh Bangladeshis’ employment in a year, he said the Malaysian government said they want to hire 15 lakh workers from Bangladesh in the next three years.
JAPAN TO TRAIN 500 BANGLADESHIS
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the expatriates’ welfare ministry and International Manpower Development Organisation of Japan (IM Japan) yesterday to train 500 Bangladeshis with technical skills on manufacturing and construction.
The deal was signed between Minister Khandker Mosharraf and Executive Chairman of IM Japan Kyoei Yanagisawa at Probashi Kallyan Bhaban.
Under the MoU, the Bangladeshis will receive a one-year training in Japan and get JPY (Japanese Yen) 80,000 equivalent to TK 49,718 per month as training allowance.
Upon completion of the training, the trainees, who would do well, will be eligible to receive technical training for another two years.
The Bangladeshis, however, will have to return home after the end of the training.
Source: The Daily Star
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