PETALING JAYA: Nepali businessmen and officials made more than 5 billion Nepal rupees (RM185 million) over the past five years from Nepalis seeking work in Malaysia, according to a news report.
The report said the money came from fees for visas and biometric screening involving Nepali companies affiliated with Malaysia’s Bestinet Sdn Bhd, which developed a foreign worker system for the Immigration Department.
Bestinet has been involved in controversy over its links to former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several Umno politicians, and with Bangladesh middlemen who made huge profits from Bangladeshi migrant workers.
The Malaysia government said in May that all agreements for bringing in foreign migrant workers were being reviewed, includng a scheme to bring workers from Bangladesh over three years.
Today’s report in the Nepali Times newspaper said: “Tallied together, the Malaysia government and companies backed by powerful politicians have, in total, taken more than Rs5 billion from over 600,000 Nepali workers between September 2013 and April 2018.
“Nepali politicians, bureaucrats and businesses were directly colluding with their Malaysian counterparts in cheating the workers. There are over 600,000 Nepali workers in Malaysia, and their remittances help sustain Nepal’s economy.”
Earlier this year the Nepal government stopped the migration of Nepali workers to Malaysia and closed many agencies believed to have illegally demanded additional money for providing visa-processing services. The government had also taken punitive action against employment agencies and individual agents this year, local news reports said.
The media reports named Malaysia VLN Nepal, Nepal Health Professional Federation, One Stop Centre (OSC) and GSG Nepal as among those affiliated to Bestinet and the migrant worker scheme.
Last month, Bestinet denied any involvement in a scheme that was purportedly trafficking in Bangladeshi migrant workers.