Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | ePaper

Government must ensure safe recruitment process for our migrant workers

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ACCORDING to a leading Malaysian newspaper, an organised trafficking gang led by a Bangladeshi businessman has taken control over sending and securing jobs for expat Bangladeshis in Malaysia. The businessman has been alleged to have strong political connections with the Malaysian Home Ministry and also here - and raked in at least two billion Malaysian ringgits in just a couple of years from Bangladeshi workers. The businessman was also instrumental in getting the two countries to sign a government-to-government (G2G) agreement in 2016- giving only 10 companies from Bangladesh the right to recruit migrant workers for Malaysia.
The sequence of revelations dates back to late 2016 when more than 100,000 workers were brought back into the country in the name of putting them under a new recruitment system when the old G2G system phased out. However, since then the recruitment process has often been mired with gross anomalies and abuses of migrants. Fate of at least 100,000 potential and experienced migrant workers are now hanging on a thread. Moreover,  An investigation revealed that the workers paid RM20,000 (Tk 4 lakh) each to their local agents who then paid half of the sum to the syndicate to have work permit approvals and flight tickets to Malaysia.
Not only our Expatriates Welfare and Manpower Ministries are repeatedly failing to address the predicament, the law enforcers including the ACC too have cleverly maintained a blind-eye from bringing the dubious recruiters to book. What needs clear understanding, unlike before, the recruiting game is not being played by one side - it's an international chain consisting of Malaysians and Bangladeshis.
These questionable individuals should be identified. Most importantly, both countries should jointly work to deter this syndicate from functioning. Respective law enforcement agencies should exchange details of the racket.
We mark a clear change in the old pattern of recruiting business. Previously it was the local recruiting agency those who manipulated the entire recruiting process while making money, but now the process has been made complex and expensive. Despite repeated attempts to draw the government's attention, so far, we have not seen an all-out approach to ensure safe recruitment process for our workers as of now. It's sad.

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