Dhaka pushes for more jobs in KL
Bangladesh is negotiating with Malaysia to obtain "source country" status within a few months to export manpower there on a regular basis through a transparent system, according to the Bangladesh High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur.
Bangladesh has been sending workers to Malaysia since the late 80s under special arrangements but it is yet to receive Malaysian "source country" status already obtained by India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Workers are now sent to Malaysia on calling visas. This arrangement is hardly favourable as they often get deprived of their rights and return home spending more money than what they earned there.
But once Bangladesh gets the "source country" status, the cost of migration to Malaysia will fall drastically and the workers will enjoy more rights than ever, said Bangladesh High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur AKM Atiqur Rahman.
He said the human resources ministry of Malaysia has requested Bangladesh to follow a guideline "on the implementation of induction course and issuance of certificate of eligibility to foreign workers intending to work in Malaysia."
"It indicates that the Malaysian authorities are positive about giving Bangladesh source country status," said the diplomat.
He also said the Malaysian government has been assessing the overall situation to decide on the matter.
A number of workers said a syndicate of Bangladeshi and Malaysian manpower brokers does not want Bangladesh to obtain "source country" status.
Over four lakh Bangladeshi workers are now living legally in Malaysia.
"Workers from source countries get better facilities than their Bangladeshi counterparts. Those workers hardly face any problems. They are now even in a position to bargain with the Malaysia authorities for increasing their salaries and other facilities,” said Masudur Rahman, first secretary (Labour) of Bangladesh High Commission.
Mustafiz said Bangladesh government should lobby the Malaysian government for giving Bangladesh "source country" status.
Thirteen South and Central Asian countries have been recognised as source nations from where Malaysian companies hire manpower on a regular basis through a transparent system.
The migrant workers also believe that anomalies in manpower recruitment will end once Bangladesh receives "source country" status.
Workers and officials said agents usually send more workers to Malaysia than required under special arrangements rendering the additional workers jobless.
“Agents in both countries are bringing additional workers causing sufferings for them,” Mustafizur Rahman, a small trader in Kuala Lumpur, told The Daily Star.
Mustafiz, owner of two shops, who has been living in Malaysia for 17 years, alleged that travel agents and syndicates manipulate the system and make money under the special arrangements deceiving poor workers.
RESTRICTION ON BANGLADESHI WORKERS
The Bangladesh high commissioner said since Malaysia still has a huge demand for workers, it is likely to lift the restriction soon on hiring the 55,000 Bangladeshi workers, whose visas were cancelled early this year.
“We are holding talks with the Malaysian authorities. The restriction on the 55,000 visas is expected to be withdrawn anytime,” he said.
Malaysia cancelled the work visas in March much to the frustration of the Bangladeshi workers, saying the country was hit by the global recession.
Malaysia hired around five lakh Bangladeshi workers from mid-2006 but irregularities in the recruitment process rendered many of them unemployed or unpaid.
There are allegations that a section of Bangladesh high commission officials in Malaysia joined hands with the unscrupulous manpower brokers.
Atiqur Rahman said he is very firm to check irregularities at Bangladesh high commission in Kuala Lumpur.
“My mission is to root out corruption from the high commission. But, I cannot take responsibility for corruption done earlier,” he said.