File photo of Bangladeshi working bound for Malaysia Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Since late 2016, more than 10,000 Bangladeshi workers have gone to Malaysia via 10 agent systems
The Malaysian government will establish a single system for hiring all foreign workers, including those from Bangladesh.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made the statement on Tuesday, reports The Star Online.
He said the Malaysian government is currently facing problems with illegal foreign workers and has decided to set up a common system in response.
“Bangladesh, Nepal and others—they will use the same system,” he said while addressing a press conference, after a meeting about foreign workers, at the Parliament.
Dr Mahathir said they had suspended the current system of 10 agents authorized to recruit Bangladeshi workers and was looking at opening up to all agents instead.
He said: “Previously, only 10 agents were allowed to process the applications of people wanting to come here from Bangladesh.
“However, this has resulted in a monopoly with some charging as high as 20,000 Malaysian Ringgits [411,368 BDT].”
“So, we want to open up to all agents there to allow for competition,” he added.
Since late 2016, more than 10,000 Bangladeshi workers went to Malaysia under the system, while more than 100,000 people are waiting to go.
According to the report, some of the 10 authorized agents were fly-by-night companies created solely to profit from being a middleman between the workers and their prospective employers in Malaysia.
The Malaysian prime minister also noted that their government would be forming an independent committee chaired by a top government official, former judge, or secretary-general—to be handled under the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis.
Dr Mahathir said: “This is to have an overview of the policies and management of foreign workers.
“We need to address these problems. We need the committee to address the issues.”
A joint committee between the Home Ministry and the Human Resource Ministry will be set up, he said—adding that they would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nepal to address the issue of foreign workers.
“We want to have a government-to-government agreement just like we have with Bangladesh, and the system will be the same,” he said.
Last month, the government of Nepal barred its workers from coming to Malaysia with immediate effect.
The move came about as the Nepalese government expressed its unhappiness with the “restrictive” immigration requirements its workers face when seeking employment in the country.
This includes having to go through a private company for security and medical check-ups as part of the visa requirements.