The Malaysian labour market for Bangladeshi workers is likely to be opened by November this year, indicating a possible end to the existing standoff in Bangladeshi workers’ access to the Malaysian job market. To break the deadlock, both Malaysian and Bangladesh are keen to focus on removing all obstacles on the way to recruiting Bangladeshi workforce to benefit both the countries.
Bangladesh always considers the Malaysian labour market as very important, but the Malaysian authority suspended recruitment of Bangladeshi workers from September 1 last year. A high-level Bangladesh delegation will visit Kuala Lumpur in November 6 to escalate the process of sending Bangladeshi manpower to Malaysia, officials at the Ministry of the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed will lead the Bangladesh delegation. Officials and manpower exporters said, as the both sides are interested to open the market the obstacles will be removed through the forthcoming visit of the minister. Sources said that the Malaysian government did not show any reason clearly about its decision to stop manpower recruitment from Bangladesh.
However, sources said, that the former government of Malaysia led by Nazib tun Razak created some bottlenecks in hiring foreign workers. Sources said, officials of the former government were widely involved in corruption in relation to recruiting workers from abroad.
The government-to-government (G2G) system of the two countries paved the way for involving all legal recruiting agencies in sending workers to the country from Bangladesh. But 10 recruiting agencies from Bangladesh formed a syndicate that virtually gripped the Malaysian labour market. As per the government’s rules a worker was supposed to pay only Tk 40,000 to go to Malaysia from Bangladesh, but the 10 agencies charged more than Tk four lakh from per labour.
Such irregularity led the Mahathir Mohammad government to stop workers’ recruitment from Bangladesh temporarily. Nevertheless, the government did not introduce any new system in this regard. As a result, the very important labour market remained closed for a long time. However, the manpower exporters are optimistic that the Malaysian employers would be very keen to hire Bangladeshi manpower.
Apart from this, the Bangladeshi workers and recruiting agencies are awaiting eagerly for opening of the door.
A good number of workers has submitted their passports to their familiar recruiting agencies, asking frequently about restart of the recruitment process. Similarly, the Malaysian employers also submitted demands for the Bangladeshi workers to the concerned department in their country, waiting for recruitment. Under such circumstances, experts said, the market might not remain closed for an indefinite time.
The records of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) show that about 2,50,000 Bangladeshi workers went to the country between March 2017 and September last year. Malaysia said that it would recruit about 25 lakh Bangladeshi workers in five sectors including production, construction and agriculture.
Malaysian High Commissioner in Dhaka Amir Farid bin Abu Hasan on August 30 told a group of journalists that the Malaysian labour market would be opened soon. Besides, Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia, expressed the hope that the recruitment process will soon start.
Meetings were held on different occasions between officials of both the countries in this regard. Official sources said, though any final decision is yet to be taken, a process has set in to end the deadlock through these meetings. When contacted, Md. Aminul Islam, Additional Secretary of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry told the Bangladesh Post, “The government is trying honestly to open the Malaysian labour market for our workers. We are hopeful that the government of Malaysia will pave the way soon in this regard.”
Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, General Secretary of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) told The Bangladesh Post that the ensuing November 6 meeting in Kuala Lumpur between high officials of both the countries will end the deadlock.