Sunday, February 17, 2019 | ePaper

Our migrants are being defrauded and harassed in Malaysia but govt remains mum

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SOME 270 Bangladeshi workers have allegedly been defrauded of over Tk 3.6 crore by an agent over securing valid work permits under the Malaysian rehiring programme. The Bangladeshi nationals had handed over their passports, other relevant documents and paid between Tk 144,000 and Tk 160,000 each to the agent for work permits, but nothing came from it, leaving the migrant workers in despair. Now they would have to face criminal charges before returning home. The story was revealed after a crackdown on undocumented migrants in Malaysia from July 1. We urge the government to settle the issue sitting with Kuala Lumpur on humanitarian grounds, and nab the culprit.
As per media reports, the Malaysian government had started legalizing undocumented migrants in February 2016 and appointed three private companies to register the undocumented foreigners for regularization. However, a lot of brokers involved in the process took undue advantage of the migrants' vulnerability to defraud them. According to migrants and rights activists, nearly one million Bangladeshis now live in Malaysia. About half of them were either waiting for regularization or defrauded by the agents and brokers.
The group of workers, who were mainly employed at the construction sector in the Klang Valley and some other states, said they have reported the matter to the police, the immigration authorities as well as the Bangladesh High Commission. The victims said no employer was hiring them now as the crackdown on undocumented migrants is underway.
The illegal workers are easy to hire with low salary and maximum working hours. Even that, the Malaysian nationalists see the immigrants are taking the jobs making the local Malaysian unemployed. Like many other plights of the citizens at homes, the government also remains totally nonchalant to the Bangladeshi migrants' sufferings. Either government would give them a real and easy way to go back home or make them legalized.               

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