KL team arrives soon to study Dhaka's proposal

Malaysia will examine a mechanism on resuming labour recruitment from Bangladesh in a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal, which is expected to cut migration costs while protecting migrants' rights.

A delegation of the Malaysia government led by Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam will arrive in Bangladesh shortly to study the mechanism crafted by Dhaka, said a foreign office official.

"The delegation will study the mechanism which Bangladesh offered for G2G recruitment process to lessen the clouts of middlemen," said the official in the ministry's South East Asia Wing told The FE Friday.

Malaysia, home to over 400,000 Bangladeshis, stopped hiring Bangladeshi workers in 2007 for an indefinite period, citing global economic recession as the reason, although malpractice in the labour recruitment process was also partly responsible for the freeze.

The online version of Malaysian leading English daily The Star on Thursday reported that the cabinet committee on foreign workers and illegal immigrants of Malaysia government has agreed to send the minister to Bangladesh as it (Malaysia) would prefer to first study the proposed mechanism before reopening the country's doors to Bangladeshi workers.

"The Government must study this proposal first as the mechanism to bring in Bangladeshi foreign workers will be made government to government and the move was made as Malaysia is considering taking in more Bangladeshi workers from here," it reports.

Bangladesh has been trying to reopen the market since the Kuala Lumpur enforced the embargo. As part of the initiative, Bangladesh last July tagged the quota-free entry of workers to Malaysian market as a pre-condition for signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the countries.

The ministry of commerce (MoC) in July this year sent a detailed proposal for signing of the FTA to the Malaysian ministry of international trade and industry.

"The mechanism must be established first before we allow any hiring of Bangladeshi workers," the Star said, quoting a statement after a meeting chaired by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Earlier in June last, a delegation of the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs visited Bangladesh to have knowledge about the country's overall manpower sector.

"The country needs around 0.5 million workers immediately and more one million in the next 5 years as the South East Asian economy is growing so fast," said a Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) official.

Few months back, the Malaysian government also made an official announcement about the recruitment of one million foreign workers in the country in different categories.

The existing balance of bilateral trade of two countries is heavily tilted in favour of Malaysia, what Bangladesh made to add recruitment of workers as a precondition.

Bangladesh thinks if precondition of allowing quota-free entry facilities for the Bangladesh workers to the Malaysian market is not included in the FTA agreement, the trade balance will go up further in favour of Malaysia.

There are 267,000 Bangladeshi workers had registered to be legalised under the Malaysian Government's 6P amnesty programme which ended last year.

There are some 400,000 Bangladeshis working in Malaysia, most of them employed in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, plantations, agriculture and the service industry.

News Source: 
The Financial Express