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?
Putrajaya’s recent statement that Malaysia would not take in all 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers proved it was not telling the whole truth on the issue, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) said today.
“The only question came to our mind was why the sudden U-turn in the government’s stand. “The latest statement clearly shows that government is not telling the true picture about recruitment of foreign workers,” the trade union federation said in a statement.
MTUC was referring to Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot’s statement that the 1.5 million figure was the number of workers registered with Bangladesh authorities to be sent to different countries.
Riot had told a press conference that the Bangladesh government was supplying labour to 139 countries, including Malaysia.
But previous statements by Malaysian officials have said that the 1.5 million workers would be brought to Malaysia in stages over three years.
“The government should have conducted a full Labour Impact Assessment study to determine the actual market demand for foreign labour before signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh to get the real picture of labour market needs,” said MTUC today.
The government should be registering the undocumented foreign workers who were already here, instead of bringing in more people, said MTUC.
Recent crackdowns on illegal foreign workers indicated there was a huge number of them in the country, it said.
Putrajaya should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to uncover the people behind the influx of undocumented foreign workers in the country, it added.
MTUC also suggested that Putrajaya focus its resources on finding out why the country’s youth were unable to maintain the jobs traditionally carried out by foreign workers.
Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dhaka on Thursday on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.– February 22, 2016.
Source: The Malaysian Insider
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