Baira mired in chaos?
Feud among the top brass of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) has apparently turned toxic -- something that became obvious at a meeting yesterday.
Baira organised the views-exchange meeting with journalists on overseas employment at its office in the capital’s Eskaton, where some of its executive committee members were not invited.
However, they attended the event and at one stage, when they tried to reply to journalists’ queries, Baira President Benjir Ahmed restrained them saying that they were “not allowed to talk” at the meeting.
A heated argument ensued and repeated several times during the two-hour meeting, starting at 11am. At the end of the event, the “uninvited” committee members held a separate briefing.
There are two factions in Baira: one led by Benjir and Secretary General Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, while the other by Senior Vice President Shafiqul Alam Firoz and Vice President Monsur Ahmed Kalam.
Baira is a government-affiliated association of recruiting agencies that export manpower.
In late November last year, about two months after the executive committee got elected, a section of the committee members including Shafiqul and Monsur expressed no-confidence in the secretary general, alleging him of irregularities.
“Shameem does not fit in this association. He violated many regulations and took several decisions without discussing with us. He was also involved in various financial scams,” Shafiqul told The Daily Star yesterday. Shameem, however, denied the allegations.
The dispute went further.
Last month, the president at a meeting announced to remove three executive committee members, including Monsur, from their posts.
“We came to the decision as they were involved in irregularities and corruption. We [he and Shameem] don’t take any decision alone,” said Benjir, also a member of the parliament.
Asked about the initiatives to solve the disputes, Shafiqul claimed to have had talks with the president more than five times. “But he didn’t pay any heed,” he said.
Benjir, on the other hand, told this newspaper, “We want to solve the issues, but they are very aggressive.”
Meanwhile, Monsur alleged that Baira suffered due to the dominance and misrule of the president. “If they can remove us, it will be easier for them to carry out their misdeeds,” he said.
Asked whether such disputes created any negative impact on labour export, both the factions replied in negative.
“Nobody stopped working due to the discord. The recruiting countries are hiring less workers lately, for which Bangladesh’s labour export reduced,” Benjir claimed.
MALAYSIAN LABOUR MARKET TO OPEN SOON
Talking to this newspaper, Baira Secretary General Shameem said the labour market in Malaysia, which has been closed to Bangladeshi workers since September last year, may open this month or early November as both the governments are having discussions in this regard.
“A protocol is going to be formulated to include various aspects of labour export, like costs and security. The market will open soon once the governments agree,” said Shameem.
He also said they along with the government, are working hard to solve the issues with Saudi Arabia regarding labour export. He expressed hope that the labour market in that country will run in full swing soon.
Speaking at the views-exchange, Baira president assured that necessary steps will be taken against torture of and repression on Bangladeshi female workers in Saudi Arabia.
“The problems might have been solved if recruiting companies in KSA had been brought under accountability. We will work in this regard,” assured Benjir.
He also said they are planning to introduce a “minimum migration cost” structure for fixing migration expenses.
Following journalists’ queries, Benjir also assured to take steps against brokers and syndicates.