Why only 25 Bangladeshi agencies allowed

Malaysian MP, 2 migrant rights groups ask its human resources minister
Bangladeshi migrant workers
Star file photo

A Malaysian MP and two migrant rights bodies have urged Human Resources Minister M Saravanan to explain his decision for allowing only 25 Bangladeshi agencies to recruit workers for Malaysia, reported Malaysian daily Malay Mail yesterday.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said he wanted Saravanan to spell out the reasons for the specific number of agencies and how they would help solve the problem of migrant worker exploitation.

The query comes just more than a week after Saravanan's visit to Bangladesh where, after meeting Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad, he said it was up to Malaysia to decide on which agencies will be allowed to send workers to Malaysia.

The recruitment is likely to start by June, four years after the recruitment from Bangladesh was suspended in September 2018 for allegations of corruption and forced labour.

Bangladesh's recruiting agencies in general also protested any syndication of agents, arguing that it leads to manipulation, corruption and labour exploitation.

Santiago said Bangladeshi recruitment agencies are saying that the 25 agencies selected are controlled by one guy called "Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Abdul Nor".Bangladeshi-born Amin has been accused multiple times of allegedly being behind a syndicate that is said to monopolise the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia.

"It is up to the minister to clarify how these 25 agencies will solve the problem. This issue has been dilly-dallied long enough, and it's being done at the expense of the people and the country," he told Malay Mail on June 12.Meanwhile, Beyond Borders Malaysia President Mahi Ramakrishnan said Saravanan owes it to the public and stakeholders to provide a clarification on how the selection of the 25 recruitment agencies was conducted.

Adrian Pereira, founder of North-South Initiative, a rights based NGO in Kuala Lumpur, said if there are companies that have better practices, in line with International Labour Organisation markers, why they would be stopped from recruiting.


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