Demand for Bangladeshi workers not high: Malaysian minister

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Representative image: Reuters file

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Representative image: Reuters file

The demand for Bangladeshi workers is not as high as it used to be as some sectors have turned to other nationalities for their labor needs, Malaysian Human Resources Minister Saravanan said.

He said this before flying to Bangladesh yesterday for a working visit.

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He is due to hold a final meeting of the joint working committee with the Bangladeshi government on the recruitment of migrant workers.

Separately, he questioned the Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (Baira)’s criticism of Malaysia’s proposal to appoint only 25 Bangladeshi recruitment agencies and 250 sub-agents.

“Baira should thank me for increasing it from 10 to 25,” he said, asking why they weren’t making similar demands in Singapore.

He noted that the number of agencies involved was larger before and that there were a lot of problems, adding that it was easier to regulate a smaller number.

“I think Baira is trying to take advantage of it,” he said, adding that he would communicate his position.

“I’m not going to move,” he added.

Meanwhile, Baira called on the Malaysian government to allow its 1,530 members to send workers to Malaysia.

He claimed that Malaysia’s proposal to appoint only 25 Bangladeshi agencies and 250 sub-agents had stalled the recruitment process.

Former Baira general secretary Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman said allowing only a limited number of agencies to send workers to Malaysia would create a monopoly or recruitment syndicate, which would increase migration costs and various other irregularities, as seen previously under the old memorandum of understanding, in which only 10 agencies were designated.

This monopoly led to allegations of malpractice in the recruitment process, including the high costs faced by migrant workers to obtain employment, which led the then Pakatan Harapan government to suspend the application for employment of foreign workers from Bangladesh as of September 2018.

The international community also considered those recruited in Bangladesh until 2018 to be victims of forced labor, due to debt bondage.

“This led to Malaysian companies reimbursing worker recruitment fees to ensure they could continue to export products to the United States,” Shameem said, adding that Bangladeshi workers received a refund of around RM18,000-20,000 per person.

“We went through this most recently in 2018, so how come the same people are coming up with the controversial and irregular system again?

“Why are Bangladeshi workers not coming is because these people are trying to control the market through only 25 agencies,” he said.

Shameem also said there was also no fear that Malaysia would become a “dumping ground” for migrant workers, as Saravanan had previously said.

Saravanan reportedly said in January that he had only appointed 25 agencies and 250 sub-agents instead of the nearly 1,600 agencies Baira requested because he did not want Malaysia to become a “garbage dump”.

“The Malaysian government has the ultimate power to decide on the number of work visas to be issued.

“If the Malaysian authorities use the mechanisms they have put in place, how is it possible for us to turn Malaysia into a dumping ground? Shameem asked.

He said Malaysia recruits workers from 13 countries, but the limitation of recruitment agencies is only practiced for Bangladesh.

“Why should there be a special system for Bangladesh?

“We can assure the Malaysian government that there will be no irregularities if they give all BRAs equal opportunity to provide their services.

“This is because a robust monitoring system has been developed by both Malaysia and Bangladesh to ensure that the welfare of migrant workers is in place and that recruitment agencies are following the laws,” did he declare.

On December 19, 2021, Saravanan and Imran signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. The five-year memorandum of understanding involved the hiring of one million workers.

This new agreement lifted a freeze imposed since September 1, 2018 by the government of Pakatan Harapan, which had suspended the application of foreign workers from Bangladesh due to allegations of malpractice in the recruitment process, including the high costs faced by migrant workers in obtaining employment. .
Copyright: The Star / Asia News Network

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