The resumption of Malaysia hiring Bangladeshi workers has become uncerztain amid recent political development of the Southeast Asian country.
The two countries were scheduled to hold the 4th joint working group meeting in Dhaka today to discuss important issues regarding reopening of Malaysia's labour market for Bangladeshi workers.
But the meeting has been called off at the last moment after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned and was appointed as the interim PM on Monday.
The move came at a time when a Malaysian delegation, led by the now dissolved Malaysian cabinet's human resources minister M Kula Segaran, was visiting Bangladesh to discuss the issue.
Joint Secretary Fazlul Karim of the expatriates' welfare ministry said after the latest political development in Malaysia, the visiting Malaysian officials verbally informed them that they were unwilling to hold the meeting for the time being.
Asked about a new date, he told The Daily Star yesterday over phone that this could be known after Malaysia's political situation normalised.
An official of the expatriates' welfare ministry said Segaran and other Malaysian officials flew back home on Monday night.
On Sunday, Segaran paid a courtesy call on Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad at his ministry office.
After the meeting, Imran told reporters that they reached a consensus with Malaysia over reopening its labour market for Bangladeshi workers soon.
"We have agreed on a point that we have to open the market very soon," he said.
Talking to journalists, Segaran said they wanted workers from Bangladesh.
Before the meeting, he met Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at his ministry office on that day.
In September 2018, Malaysia suspended hiring Bangladeshi workers on allegation of malpractices in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs.
In November last year, minister Imran visited Kuala Lumpur and held talks with Segaran about the labour market's reopening.
They emphasised the necessities of "standardising the recruitment process, employment and repatriation of Bangladeshi workers to ensure safe, transparent and orderly migration," according to a joint statement issued then.
As per the meeting outcome, the 4th JWG meeting was scheduled to be held in Dhaka in November last year.
But the meeting was postponed and deferred to February this year.
Since 2012, the Southeast Asian country hired Bangladeshi workers under a government-to-government system known as G2G.
The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in 2016. Since then, Malaysia had been hiring Bangladeshi workers under a G2G plus system involving government organisations and 10 Bangladeshi private recruitment agencies.
In 2017, the Bangladesh government set Tk 1.6 lakh as migration cost for labour recruitment in Malaysia.
Malaysia hired 40,274 workers from Bangladesh between 2012 and 2015, says Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
The BMET data says the country hired around 3.15 lakh Bangladeshi workers in the next three years which dropped to 545 last year because of the suspension of hiring.
In terms of labour recruitment, Malaysia is the fourth largest market for Bangladeshi workers after Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.