Syndicate rules labour market

Several syndicates are controlling Bangladesh’s labour market, exploiting Bangladeshi workers and damaging the country’s reputation across the globe. A syndicate of 12 recruiting agencies is active to control the recently reopened labour market in Malaysia, according to Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment and recruiting agency sources.

Sources said the Malaysian government stopped taking people from Bangladesh because of the malpractices of such agencies. However, the recruiting agencies that were earlier detected for their misdeeds are now trying to change their identity, from the recruiting agency to a skilled manpower organisation.

Government initiatives to open the labour market in Malaysia are not very visible. However, the syndicate has already issued a letter nominating representatives of the 12 institutions of Bangladesh under their 'Academy Saujana' approved by the Malaysian government for the creation of skilled manpower.

This was supposed to be finalized by the Human Resources Minister of Malaysia M Kulasegaran during his visit to Bangladesh. However, due to the sudden cancellation of the minister's visit, the syndicate's plan has reportedly failed. Rumors have surfaced that the syndicate is responsible for the cancellation of the Malaysian minister's visit.

Minister of Overseas Welfare and Foreign Employment Imran Ahmed on Sunday said, “I confirmed the minister's visit through the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, but he suddenly postponed his visit due to important work.” “The Joint Working Group meeting will be held on February 24 even though Kulasegaran's visit has been postponed. M Kulasegaran will come to Bangladesh later if the issue is resolved in this meeting,” he added.

Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran was scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on February 11 last for a six-day official visit. He was scheduled to visit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar and hold a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Minister for Overseas Welfare and Foreign Employment Imran Ahmed.

A training center named by the Malaysian government 'Academy Saujan' has appointed representatives of 12 institutions under their control in Bangladesh. A letter was issued on February 12 for this purpose. The institute has also started the process of taking Tk 30,000 per person for a month's training. However, the government is working to create skilled manpower free of cost in the country.

According to a source, although workers of different classes are taken from 14 countries, only Bangladeshi workers are tested privately. Private diagnostic centers have been doing this work at a cost of Tk 10,500. However, the cost of the same test in any diagnostic center is only Tk 350. Among 100, around 35 are declared unfit. Their visas got cancelled and they lost the money they spent in testing.

The Malaysian labor market has been closed since 2008 but after a contract passed by the cabinet of the two countries under the Jituji system in 2017, private company Bexie Net started exporting manpower through their preferred recruiting agency. The agreement clearly states that no workers can be sent without the software of that company. Even though the other 13 ASEAN countries are exporting manpower to Malaysia, there is no need for any mediation in those countries.