Kula agrees with more transparent system for Bangladeshi workers

Malaysia has imposed a moratorium on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in 2018.

PUTRAJAYA: Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran agrees that there should be a more stringent system to facilitate the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia.

The Daily Star Bangladesh recently reported that the Bangladeshi government does not want to send more of its citizens to work in Malaysia until a transparent recruitment system with lower costs is implemented.

This is despite Malaysia imposing a moratorium on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in 2018.

The report published on Sunday stated that some migrant workers who chose to work in Malaysia had to pay around RM20,000 in processing fees to facilitate work permit approvals and other arrangements.

It also stated that recruitment agencies blamed illegal brokers in both countries for the high cost – a view shared by Bangladesh’s Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad.

“There must be a system in Bangladesh itself to stop the unchecked sending of workers, and that is what they are trying to do,” said Kula at the sidelines of his ministry’s open day today.

“We have this case where many foreign workers have been allegedly abused in Malaysia or exploited by agents who charged them a lot to get here. When we signed a MOU with Nepal, one of the conditions is that when workers come in there should be no payment involved.

“Zero cost for the workers – so that means plane tickets and other expenses have to be borne by the employers.”

The minister expressed his concern that the US State Department had placed Malaysia on the Tier 2 Watch List in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for the second straight year in 2019, warning that sanctions could be imposed if the country was to be on the list again this year.

While the Malaysian government suspended the intake of Bangladeshi workers in September 2018 pending an investigation into the system used to recruit workers, Kula said that bilateral discussions on the new terms for recruitment were progressing well.

Stating that discussions to lift the moratorium had been ongoing for months, the minister said there was a possibility that a working group would be going to Bangladesh to settle the matter this month.

“There are very few matters to be resolved. Only one or two matters out of 10 to 12 matters,” he said.

“Once they are resolved, we will open the sector. The government of Malaysia is ready and willing to do that (lift moratorium).”