PETALING JAYA: The government plays no part in deciding the source countries of foreign workers recruited to work in Malaysia, says human resources minister V Sivakumar.
Commenting on a news report on foreign workers from Bangladesh, Sivakumar said that “there seems to be a misunderstanding” regarding the recruitment process and the allocation of quotas for foreign workers from Bangladesh.
In a statement, he said that the employment of foreign workers in Malaysia is subject to demand from employers and is based on criteria determined by the government according to the needs of various sectors.
“The ministry would like to clarify the misconceptions surrounding the employment of foreign workers as it reflects negatively (on the) processes and procedures,” said Sivakumar.
“Employers determine the selection of workers and their source countries based on their suitability in adapting to the nature of work in their respective industries.
“There will be no interference from the government in this process. Malaysia has 14 other source countries, aside from Bangladesh, for employers to choose in employing foreign workers.”
Stressing that the government acknowledged the contribution of foreign workers in Malaysia’s economic development, Sivakumar said the human resources ministry firmly upholds the principle that “human suffering should not be tolerated or compromised”, particularly with regard to foreign workers’ rights and welfare.
In an FMT report yesterday, migrant rights activist Andy Hall expressed concern about the rapid pace at which Bangladeshi workers were coming into Malaysia, claiming that many were unable to find jobs after being brought to the country by syndicates.
He said Bangladeshi migrants were paying more than US$6,000 (RM28,140) per person in recruitment costs, adding that the high recruitment costs resulted in many of these workers ending up in “acute modern slavery situations” due to debt bondage.
A Bangladeshi newspaper, Bangladeshi Business Standard, reported that more than 300,000 Bangladeshi workers had come into Malaysia since the labour market re-opened in December 2021.
Quoting the country’s bureau of manpower, employment and training, the newspaper also said that another 120,000 workers from the country are in the process of travelling to Malaysia.