PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim wants the home ministry to stop using agents to recruit foreign workers due to the higher costs involved.
“For example, for (workers from) Nepal, the cost is only RM3,700,” he said at a press conference after today’s Cabinet meeting.
“But for (workers from) Bangladesh and Indonesia, they each involve a cost of between RM20,000 and RM25,000.”
He added that the high fees charged by agents were tantamount to “modern slavery”.
Recruitment agents’ fees have long been blamed for increased costs for foreign workers looking to work in Malaysia.
The workers are often forced to take high-interest loans or mortgage their land to pay the recruitment fees, putting them into “bondage”.
Several local glove manufacturers have reimbursed their current and former foreign workers for these recruitment fees.
Last February, then human resources minister M Saravanan told employers wanting to hire foreign workers to apply directly to the human resources ministry instead of doing so via third-party recruitment agencies.
Saravanan said applications made by recruitment agencies would be immediately rejected.
In 2018, his predecessor, M Kulasegaran, said the ministry would review the role of recruiting agents.
The one-stop centre (OSC) for the recruitment of foreign workers was once again placed under the home ministry last December. The move came barely six months after the previous government had placed the OSC under the human resources ministry.