June 1st 2022: Burial shrouds to greet Malaysian labour minister Saravanan in Dhaka, foreign labour deal to be finalised against background of allegations of syndication

Burial shrouds to greet Malaysian labour minister Saravanan in Dhaka, labour deal to be finalised against background of syndication
Alyaa Alhadjri
Published: Jun 1, 2022 2:33 PM

A macabre greeting might be in store for Human Resources Minister M Saravanan when he lands in Dhaka.


Labour recruiters in Bangladesh have threatened to turn up in burial shrouds to protest Putrajaya’s decision to limit the number of recruiters allowed to send Bangladeshi labourers to Malaysia.

Ministry sources confirmed that the minister will leave for Dhaka tonight for a joint working group meeting with Bangladeshi officials tomorrow.

It is expected that Saravanan (above) will “push through” the agreement to permit only 25 recruitment agencies and 250 sub-agents to send labourers from Bangladesh to Malaysia.

Bangladeshi newspaper The Business Post reported that some 2,000 recruiters have threatened to hold a demonstration in the capital to demand an open market to supply labour to Malaysia.

Citing industry sources, the paper said recruitment costs would go up from 120,000 Bangladeshi Taka (RM5,900) per person to 450,000 Bangladeshi Taka (RM22,200) if a cartel is allowed to control the market.

Both countries signed a memorandum of agreement last December to lift the embargo on labour supply from Bangladesh to Malaysia for all sectors but the recruitment process is still pending.

The embargo was imposed by the Pakatan Harapan government on Sept 1, 2018.

In a letter to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob in April, Bangladesh Minister of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmad said the South Asian nation is keen to send workers through “low cost, fair, and safe” processes.

He said Bangladesh also hopes that the market will be open to all licensed labour recruitment agencies, signalling its objection to Malaysia’s request that only 25 agencies and 250 sub-agents be allowed to send their workers to Malaysia.

There are nearly 1,600 agencies under the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) seeking equal opportunity to be allowed to send workers to Malaysia.

In March, Saravanan said Putrajaya received 200,000 applications from Bangladeshi foreign workers through the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS).

The system has been mired in controversy with its owner Bestinet allegedly playing a key role in choosing which recruitment agencies will be selected to send workers to Malaysia.

Bestinet has denied this.
According to the firm, it only accredits medical centres which conduct health screenings on incoming labourers but does not accredit agents nor influence government policy on the matter.


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