First Bangladeshi batch to reach Malaysia by April
The first batch of Bangladeshi migrants to work in palm gardens in Sarawak province of Malaysia may reach there by the first week of April under the government-to-government process.
"We have provided a list of 5,000 jobseekers to the Malaysian recruitment authorities in the last two months. They are now scrutinising the profiles of the workers," Sayedul Islam, counsellor (Labour Wing) at Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, told The Daily Star on Friday over phone.
Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on recruiting 12,000 Bangladeshi workers to work in Sarawak province, during an official visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina there last December.
The officials at the Bangladesh high commission said the recruitment procedure would begin after the Sarawak authorities complete immigration clearance for the jobseekers.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem last month said around 5,000 Bangladeshi workers will reach Sarawak by April.
During Sheikh Hasina's visit to Malaysia in December, her counterpart Najib Tun Razak said Sarawak needed 62,000 workers in the palm sector.
According to the MoU, each Bangladeshi worker will get Malaysian Ringgit (MR) 800 (approximately Tk 16,747) as monthly wage.
Officials at the high commission said workers would get overtime and be provided with accommodation by their employers.
However, Bangladeshis working in plantation factories in other states of Malaysia under an earlier MoU signed in 2012 receive MR 900 as monthly wage.
Asked about the salary discrimination, the officials said Sarawak authorities refused to pay MR 900 in the beginning but agreed to gradually increase the workers' wages.
More Bangladeshi workers would be hired depending on the pioneer group's performance, a spokesperson of one of the biggest plantation told a local daily.
Around 8,000 Bangladeshis have been working in palm gardens in other states of Malaysia under the MoU signed in 2012. Two years back, more than 14 lakh Bangladeshis registered with the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training for the jobs but the Malaysian government could not ensure jobs for them. Now, the work opportunity in Sarawak comes as a big break for them.