KL reviewing outsourcing system of recruitment | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 18, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 18, 2007

Exploitation of Bangladeshi Workers

KL reviewing outsourcing system of recruitment

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Malaysia is reviewing the present outsourcing system of recruiting Bangladeshi workers as it led to exploitation of workers subjecting them to abuses, underemployment with lower wages and unemployment.
Kuala Lumpur initiated the review process following repeated requests from Dhaka saying workers are more likely to be abused through this system, according to officials of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment.
" The Malaysian government started reviewing the mechanism of hiring workers through outsourcing companies as we had earlier notified it about the matter and our high commissioner in Malayasia is communicating with the authorities there time to time," a senior official told The Daily Star.
The issue however is being dealt with in a delicate manner so that bilateral relations and businesses between the two nations are not hampered, he noted.
Under the existing system, Malaysian outsourcing companies sign contracts with recruiting agencies to hire workers from Bangladesh and supply them to various factories and agricultural farms in Malaysia.
These outsourcing companies realise wages and other facilities of workers from the factories and farms for paying them and arranges their accommodation. The Malaysian government introduced this system of outsourcing due to requests from industries that wanted to avoid troubles in handling foreign workers, officials said.
"But once Malaysia started hiring workers in this system, there were numerous reports of exploitation of workers in the media. Our government therefore asked the Malaysian government to consider the issue," the official said.
Reports received from Malaysia said many of the workers hired from Bangladesh were not given jobs and were stranded at various secret places, meaning that they were hired against fake job demand letters.
Tenaganita, a human rights organisation, in a fact-finding report recently revealed that outsourcing companies are mainly responsible for high migration cost and exploitation.
Cost of workers' migration to Malaysia is officially Tk 85,000 each but they pay more than Tk 2 lakh.
The rights body, which prepared its report after interviewing 150 jobless and stranded Bangladeshi workers and studying cases of 36 workers, said their living conditions were deplorable and unhealthy. And passports of the workers were taken away on arrival.
"We want the outsourcing strategy for labour employment be scrapped as it has failed and caused human rights violations," it said, demanding actions against the outsourcing companies under Anti Trafficking in Persons Act.
In such a situation, Bangladesh government asked recruiting agencies to inspect by themselves the workplaces in Malaysia before they sign contracts with the outsourcing companies there, said an official of the expatiates' welfare ministry.
The agencies however showed mixed reaction to this.
"The job demand letters that outsourcing companies send to us are attested by the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur only after inspection of the workplaces. So, the recruiting agencies need not inspect those," said a member of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira).
If there are violations of contracts by employers in Malaysia, Bangladesh government should take it up with the Malaysian authorities who are to ensure that the workers are safe.
Another recruiting agent however said there would be less chances of workers' exploitation and violation of contracts between workers and employers if the agents themselves check if the workplaces are genuine.

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