PETALING JAYA: A government-linked company (GLC), which has been accused of violating regulations in the intake of foreign workers, says it has acted against errant recruitment agencies and reimbursed RM72.2 million to workers who were “cheated”.
FGV Holdings Bhd said it was looking into the allegations by activist Andy Hall that the company used unauthorised agents who made workers pay recruitment fees, thus violating the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia and the source countries.
“FGV is committed to upholding the highest standards in its practices involving the recruitment of foreign workers.
“Through our enhanced due diligence mechanism, three agencies were suspended for failing to comply with our ethical recruitment requirements.
“In line with its commitment, the company will reimburse any worker found to have paid recruitment fees. To date, FGV has spent a total of RM72.2 million for reimbursement,” its group chief executive officer Nazrul Mansor said in an email reply to FMT.
In his official complaint to the human resources ministry and FGV, Hall had alleged that the GLC had engaged the services of a few recruitment agencies not on the government’s officially sanctioned list.
He also alleged that although the government practised a “zero-cost” recruitment policy, Malaysian manpower agencies often took money for recruitment costs from employers, source country agents and the workers.
Nazrul said FGV is fully dedicated to adhering to all applicable guidelines, laws and regulations in Malaysia, including those related to the recruitment of migrant workers and human rights principles as outlined by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
“We treat all of our employees, including migrant workers, with dignity and respect. Additionally, FGV engaged an external independent organisation to oversee its recruitment of migrant workers this year,” she said.
Nazrul said the recruitment agents retained by FGV were assessed for responsible and ethical recruitment practices, adding that workers were also interviewed on their recruitment experiences.
“FGV will only engage recruitment agencies that demonstrate commitment and effort to continuously implement responsible and ethical practices.”
Hall, who has been frustrated with the poor response from Malaysian authorities over the plight of hundreds of Bangladeshi workers struggling in debt bondage and without jobs here, recently referred the matter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for further action.