Malaysia labour market: Bangladeshis suffer for govt’s wrong decision

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Although recruiting manpower in Malaysia was stopped several times due to ‘syndicates’, the concerned government bodies did not wake up. 31 May was the deadline to send migrant workers to Malaysia. Despite availing visa and appointment letters, several thousand Bangladeshi workers failed to go to Malaysia.

As per the news reports, the workers have been duped by recruiting agencies of Bangladesh and Malaysia. Earlier, the country's labour market was closed in 2009, 2016 and 2018. It is a shame for us that the labor market of Malaysia has been closed four times. In this process of closing and opening the fortune-seeking youths who sell property or take loans to go aboard become fleeced while illegal syndicate get benefitted.

Although Bangladesh did not take any action, the United Nations and European Union have expressed concern over the plight of the Bangladeshi workers. It is the responsibility of the host country to ensure minimum basic rights and dignity of workers. There is a doubt as to how much these responsibilities were done by Malaysia. But Bangladesh too has some responsibilities to stave off the violation of human rights. The government can at least discuss the issue with the host countries.

The government’s unwise decision is responsible for the recent incident. Malaysia receives labour force from 15 countries. Malaysia has not stipulated the selection of specific agencies for hiring workers in 14 of these countries. All agencies in those countries can send labour. On the other hand, the country has selected some specific recruiting agencies for sending workers from Bangladesh, a move that Bangladesh agreed to. Taking that chance, the recruiting agencies of the two countries tricked out Tk 500,000-550,000 from each migration seeker to Malaysia.

Foreign Workers Centralized Management System’s (FWCMS) software Bestinet plays a major role in recruiting Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia. Bangladeshi recruiting agencies have to send migrants to Malaysia convincing that organisation.

The question is what is happening to the people who failed to go to Malaysia despite giving money as per recruiting agencies’ demand by selling their properties or taking loans? The agencies would not voluntarily refund their money. The government will have to take legal steps so that those hapless migration-seekers get a refund of their hard-earned money. Secondly, the government can discuss with the Malaysian government to see if those who had received visa and demand letters can be sent to Malaysia despite the expiry of the deadline on 31 May.  

Many Malaysian agencies took manpower showing fake appointment letters. Those who were victims to such fraud syndicates are living in miserable conditions in Malaysia. The high commissioner of Malaysia in Bangladesh stated that the agencies are beyond the control of the two governments. There is no point in agreeing with the statement. Malaysia government cannot shun its responsibility as it signed the deal to recruit manpower from Bangladesh. Bangladeshi workers cannot bear the brunt of the wrong decision of the government or willfulness of Malaysian agencies.