Agencies blame Malaysia govt for mess in labour migration 

BAIRA leaders speak at a press briefing in Dhaka on 4 June, 2024.Prothom Alo

Recruiting agencies have blamed the Malaysia government for the rise of syndicates in labour recruitment from Bangladesh and the subsequent failure in sending thousands of labours within the stipulated time. 

Leaders of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) came up with the statement at a press briefing at Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall on the Minto Road in Dhaka on Tuesday. 

The association, on behalf of 101 recruiting agencies, held the briefing to disclose their stance against the backdrop that a total of 16,970 workers could not reach Malaysia within the deadline, 31 May, despite having valid visas.

Former BAIRA president and current lawmaker Benjir Ahmed said they did not go to Malaysia to influence the agency selection process. In the previous phase, the Malaysian authorities selected recruiting agencies, dropping those owned by three parliamentarians.

“They selected agencies this time too. We did not go there for lobbying… no idea if anyone did it. If anyone, whoever he is, engages in corruption and irregularities, there will be legal action,” he said. 

Nizam Uddin Hazari, a lawmaker and owner of a recruiting agency, denied the existence of any syndicates in labour recruitment. “There is no word called syndicate. The Malaysian government selected agencies and we, by the grace of Allah, got selected coincidentally.” 

He also spurned the allegation of his involvement with labour recruitment and trading of visas and claimed he only took care of processing. 

Another parliamentarian Lt. Gen. (retd) Masud Uddin Chowdhury attended the programme but did not speak.

BAIRA president Abul Bashar said a deal between two governments entrusted Malaysia with the job of selecting recruitment agencies. Some of the selected agencies are owned by parliamentarians. They also have the right to do business. 

The association’s secretary general Ali Haidar Chowdhury said the parliamentarians did not conduct any conspiracies to form syndicates. Malaysia finalised the agencies and some 101 agencies, including those of the MPs, were selected.

Regarding the mess in the process, they blamed the Malaysia government and said there would not have been such a pressure if the Malaysian authorities stopped providing visas on 15 May.

There was no scope to assume the actual number of migrant workers and arrange special flights accordingly. Some of the workers were granted visas on 30 May, but there were no arrangements for sending them to Malaysia, he explained.