Malaysia to hire 5,000 fishermen
Malaysia offers to hire around 5,000 fishermen from Bangladesh, which the government thinks would be the first step of reopening the door of the Southeast Asian country to Bangladeshi workers.
"Having received offers from the Malaysian side, our high commissioner in Kuala Lumpur inquired if we could send fishermen," Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, told The Daily Star yesterday.
The workers would be hired to work in trawlers to catch fish in the sea, he said. With some training, Bangladeshi fishermen, mainly those from the coastal zones, can easily be made aptly skilled and professional in the trade, he added.
"We are now assessing the proposal and are hopeful to send such fishermen there," the secretary observed.
Referring to the Bangladesh high commissioner in Malaysia, he said the monthly salary of the fishermen would be equivalent to Tk 15,000 and the cost to go there would be only Tk 30,000, as the hiring companies would provide them airfare.
"We prefer sending them through government channels because it takes no time to destroy a labour market when private recruiting agencies are involved," the secretary observed. He added Malaysia has demands for foreign workers also in manufacturing and plantation sectors.
Asked about Malaysia's stance on reopening the labour market for Bangladesh, Zafar said Bangladesh is making its diplomatic efforts to that end.
The country imposed a ban on hiring Bangladeshi workers in March last year, citing economic recession and instantly cancelled job visas of 55,000 Bangladeshis.
However, labour migration experts say it was the malpractice spree in recruitment process that prompted Malaysia to impose the ban.
"We hope the reopening process would start with the hiring of the fishermen," the secretary noted.
Speaking anonymously, an official at the Malaysian high commission in Dhaka said there was no official announcement about the matter.
Earlier, South Korea had hired some fishermen from Bangladesh who could not do well because of climatic conditions there, an official of the expatriates' welfare ministry said.
Some Bangladeshi fishermen also work in the Maldives, he added.