The workers claim they paid a Bangladeshi agency about RM20,000 each to secure them jobs in Malaysia.
PETALING JAYA: A group of 10 migrant workers from Bangladesh were detained in Penang this week for not possessing valid documents, after their purported employer failed to provide them with jobs since arriving in the country in December.
They were among 95 workers who paid about RM20,000 each in recruitment fees to an agency in Bangladesh which promised them jobs at an engineering company in Selangor.
Abdullah, a spokesman for the group, told FMT their passports were taken away from them by two representatives from the company after meeting them at the Penang International Airport.
The first batch of 48 workers, who arrived on Dec 21, moved to Selangor, and the second batch of 47 workers, who arrived on Dec 29, remained in Penang, where the company put them up in “overcrowded quarters and also gave them poor quality food”, he said.
A source at the Penang labour department said they received a report from the department’s headquarters about migrant workers living in unfavourable conditions in the state.
“On Monday, we conducted an operation with the police and the immigration department at four locations in Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam,” he said.
“Our checks revealed that 10 workers did not have their passports and work permits. They only had photos (of the documents) in their phones.
“From the photos, the permits and passports had already expired. They were detained by the immigration department for overstaying.”
Human resources minister V Sivakumar told FMT he was aware of the matter and said the ministry will issue a statement soon.
Earlier this month, Sivakumar said he received a report from a Bangladesh diplomatic representative regarding an incident where 117 workers from the country were not offered jobs after arriving two weeks earlier in Malaysia under the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan launched in January.
However, the Penang labour department source said the 95 workers were not part of the 117 workers Sivakumar had referred to.
FMT has also reached out to the Bangladesh High Commission for comment.