24th Feb 2023: Malaysian HR ministry ups Bangladeshi recruitment agencies to 100

HR ministry ups Bangladeshi recruitments agencies to 100

NEWS: Malaysian HR ministry ups Bangladeshi recruitments agencies to 100

The Malaysian HR Ministry has increased the number of Bangladeshi recruitment agents (BRA) by fourfold after selecting 100 agencies to recruit Bangladeshi workers.

Original link: Malaysiakini by Alyaa Alhadjri, Isabelle Leong & Yasmin Ramlan – 23rd February 2023

This is an increase from the original 25 agencies allowed to do so previously.

Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar made the revelation during the winding-up speech of his ministry in the Parliament today.

Sivakumar (above) was replying to a question from Howard Lee (Harapan – Ipoh Timor) if the government has plans to allow employers to use the services of over 1,520 recruitment agencies that are provided by Bangladesh, rather than just the 100 selected BRAs

“It is not just for Bangladesh but the fee to recruit foreign workers from other countries is too high and the government has taken various measures in an attempt to reduce the recruitment cost.

“As Ipoh Timor had mentioned, for Bangladesh, we understand that we have 100 recruitment agencies that are involved.

“The government is looking into this matter – on how we can try to reduce cost. This is an important matter,” he said.

Last January, Sivakumar’s predecessor M Saravanan revealed that he took the initiative to add 24 BRAs and 250 sub-agents from the previous 10 BRAs that were involved in recruiting new workers bound for Malaysia.

It came about after the signing of a new five-year labour recruitment agreement with Bangladesh’s Expatriates’ and Overseas Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed.

The agreement – signed by both governments on Dec 19, 2021 – had lifted a freeze imposed on Sept 1, 2018.

Saravanan came under fire for selecting only 25 companies to recruit Bangladeshi workers, with several quarters criticizing and asking him to explain his decision, while others warned that it would result in a monopolistic environment.

The Tapah MP had since denied all allegations of monopoly but stressed that the increase was to safeguard foreign workers’ welfare and livelihood and avoid monopolistic practices.

On Feb 8, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was reported as saying that he wants the use of agents to recruit foreign workers to be stopped.

Anwar also said the excessive recruitment fee for migrant workers is tantamount to modern-day slavery.

See Also: FMT 25th May 2023: Migrant worker recruitment system in Malaysia stinks to high heaven.

See Also: 16th May 2023: ‘No work, money or food’ – the nightmare of Bangladeshi and Nepali migrant jobseekers in Malaysia.

Additional Background Links:

1. (Daily Star, 31st Jan 2023) Dhaka expecting open labour migration 

2. (Daily Star, 16th Jan 2023) New Malaysian PM could mean good news for Bangladeshi workers

3. (Vibes 10th Jan 2023) ‘Bangladeshi/Malaysia recruitment cartels’ grip must end

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