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Malaysia will become a ‘dumping ground’ for Bangladeshis if the number of recruitment agencies increased, says Malaysian HR minister

Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan opposed an increase in the number of permitted labour recruitment agencies from Bangladesh to 2000 from 10, saying it will turn Malaysia into a dumping ground for Bangladeshis

The Malaysian government has expressed concerns over the increasing migration of Bangladeshi workers to the country, reported The Free Malaysia Today. According to Human Resources Minister M Saravanan, Malaysia might turn into a ‘dumping ground’ if the influx of Bangladeshi citizens remained unchecked. The development came at the backdrop of the request by the Bangladeshi government to increase the number of permitted labour recruitment agencies from Bangladesh to 2000 from 10. He informed that both the nations have been discussing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for over a year, pertaining to labour recruitment.

While raising his objections against the proposed approval of 2000 labour recruitment agencies, M Saravanan emphasised, “If so many agencies (from there) want to send their foreign workers here, Malaysia could become a dumping ground…Before this, 10 companies could bring in foreign labour from Bangladesh. (While) I do believe it has to be expanded to more than 10, the situation has to be controlled.”

The Malaysian HRD Minister informed that a final decision on the proposed MoU will be taken within 2 weeks, after necessary deliberations in the Cabinet. He informed that he has received a final draft of the MoU and he will bring it up to the Cabinet.

In September 2018, the Malaysian government had suspended the Foreign Employee Application System (SPPA) for Bangladeshi workers, which only allowed the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers by 10 selected agencies. After that, negotiations between the two countries had started on the subject of an increase in the number of agencies, which lasted around two years. Bangladesh has proposed to increase the number of recruitment agencies to 2000, which the Malaysian Human Resources Minister is objecting to.

Under the previous system, Bangladeshi workers reportedly had to fork out up to RM20,000 (Rs 3.54 lakh) per person to pay agents to facilitate work permit approvals and other arrangements to work in Malaysia. This system is also being reformed now.

M Saravanan added that his government was focused on preventing forced labour, withholding of wages, excessive overtime and abusive working conditions. He said that an online platform named the Working for Workers (WFW) app was launched to register the grievances of workers. He concluded that action had been taken in 95% of the total 12000 complaints.

The minister also informed that the Malaysian government has agreed to ratify the International Labour Organization’s Protocol 29, the protocol to the Forced Labour Convention. “The government has also endorsed Malaysia’s participation as a Pathfinder country under the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Alliance 8.7,” he said.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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