31st May 2024 – Recruitment in Malaysia: Syndicate siphons over $1b out of Bangladesh

Recruitment in Malaysia: Syndicate siphons over $1b out of Bangladesh

31st May 2024 – Recruitment in Malaysia: Syndicate siphons over $1b out of Bangladesh

When recruitment in Malaysia resumed hiring Bangladeshis in August 2022 after a four-year hiatus, governments of the two countries agreed that a worker would have to spend just Tk 78,990 to get a job in the Southeast Asian country and fly there.

But in reality, a worker had to spend Tk 5.44 lakh or $5,000, according to a survey published earlier this month by the US-based non-profit Verite.

Original Source: The Daily Star by Porimol Palma – 31st May 2024

On March 28, four UN experts wrote to the Bangladesh and Malaysia governments about the situation of Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia and mentioned that each migrant spent between $4,500 and $6,000.

Several migrant workers who spoke to The Daily Star from Malaysia said they spent over Tk 5 lakh to get there.

See also Daily Star 2nd June 2024: Controversial recruitment system to stay 3 more years

On December 19, 2021, Bangladesh and Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding, according to which, a worker would need to spend no more than Tk 78,990 for the passport, health checkup, registration, welfare, insurance, identity card, clothing, and recruitment agency fees.

Recruitment in Malaysia by employers were supposed to pay for the plane ticket, visa, security deposit, insurance, medical test, document attestation by the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian recruiting agents.

Industry insiders and researchers say a syndicate of 100 Bangladeshi recruitment agents, who were selected by Malaysian authorities, created a monopoly-like situation, in which a worker had no way of getting to Malaysia without spending hefty sums.

Many believe that the leader of the syndicate is Ruhul Amin Swapan, owner of Catharsis International, in Bangladesh and Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Abdul Nor, founder of IT firm Bestinet, in Malaysia.

The latter is a Bangladesh-born Malaysian citizen whose firm operates the Malaysian government’s Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS).

There are many allegations of corruption and manipulation against his firm.

Overseas recruitment business insiders say several members of Bangladesh parliament, their relatives and political leaders are beneficiaries of the clique.

Ruhul, the owner of Catharsis, did not respond to repeated calls made by this correspondent.

The sources said a recruiting agent pays Tk 1,07,000 to the syndicate leadership for recruitment of each worker in Malaysia. The middlemen who collect job demand letters from the Malaysian employers take around Tk 1,60,000.

In recent months, the middlemen in Malaysia have been taking up to Tk 2,00,000, they said.

“Employers, certain officials of the Malaysian government and even the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia get a part of this money,” a source in Malaysia told this correspondent.

The four UN experts in their letter also said the recruitment process of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia reportedly begins with bribery in the human resources and home affairs ministries of Malaysia, where “fake quotas for bogus employers” are created.

On October 19 last year, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said “relaxing regulations on the hiring of foreign workers and the recalibration exercise” led to an excess of over 250,000 foreign workers in the manufacturing and service sectors, reported Malaysian newspaper, The Star.

A source in Malaysia said the government relaxed the approval rules for real employers, and certain companies took the chance to recruit more workers from Bangladesh than needed.

According to multiple sources and an estimate by this correspondent, Tk 2,67,000 ($2,265) [Tk 1,60,000 for Malaysian middlemen and Tk 1,07,000 paid to the syndicate leader] is laundered out of the country for each worker who gets hired in Malaysia.

From August 2022 to April this year, around 4,50,000 Bangladeshi workers migrated to Malaysia for jobs. This means the syndicate syphoned over $1 billion out of Bangladesh. “The money went mainly to Malaysia. A part of it may have been sent to some other countries,” a recruiting agent said.

Migrants often don’t go to licensed recruiting agents, and contact unauthorised middlemen who take Tk 50,000 to Tk 1 lakh.

Syed Saiful Haque, chairman of WARBE Development Foundation that was involved in the Verite survey, said workers who spent a lot for recruitment fees remained indebted for two to three years.

If the workers don’t have jobs or remain underpaid, they go through untold sufferings, he said.

“A portion of the workers’ recruitment fee is sent abroad via hundi for paying bribes in Malaysia. This is how the country loses its foreign currency,” Saiful told this correspondent.

Mohammed Fakhrul Islam, joint secretary general-1 at the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, said Malaysia froze its recruitment in 2018 as well as this year because of the anomalies.

In 2016-18, there was a syndicate of 10 recruiting agents and this time there are 100, he said.

“Our government should act to dismantle the syndicates,” he said.

Syed Saiful Haque said the Anti-Corruption Commission must investigate the allegations of corruption and money laundering by the manpower agents.

As per a previous decision, Malaysia freezes recruitment of foreign workers from tomorrow.

Daily Star 30th May 2024: Manpower syndicates beyond Dhaka-KL control Says Malaysian high commissioner 

Original Source: The Daily Star by Porimol Palma – 30th May 2024

Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim


“The Malaysian government is committed and very serious about ensuring transparency and the highest ethical standards in the recruitment process,” Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim”.

— Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim

The syndicates recruiting Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia are “beyond the control of the two governments”, Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim said yesterday.

Hiring begins with bribery

She, however, assured that both governments are sincerely working together to improve the recruitment system.

“Of course, there are things that are beyond our control. You [this correspondent] just mentioned the syndicates. This is something beyond not only Malaysia, but also Bangladesh … [it’s] beyond the control of the two governments,” she told the media at an interaction session hosted by the Malaysian high commission at a city hotel.

She did not clarify why the syndicates are beyond the governments’ control.

Haznah made the remarks when The Daily Star asked about the allegations of irregularities made by four UN independent experts in a letter to the governments of Bangladesh and Malaysia on March 28.

The letter said criminal networks operate in the recruitment process of Bangladeshi workers, who are deceived, recruited by phantom  companies and obliged to pay exorbitant recruitment fees, ranging from $4,500 to $6,000. This pushes them into debt bondage.

It added that this goes against the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2021, which allowed charges to be capped at $720.

The Bangladeshi workers pay the highest recruitment fees globally, the letter said.

Haznah said, “I’m not in a position to comment over the allegations.”

However, she said the Malaysian government is “committed and very serious” about ensuring transparency and the highest ethical standards in the recruitment process.

“Give us space to do it right for the interest of good relations of the two brotherly countries.”

Since August 2022, some 422,000 Bangladeshis have gone to Malaysia for jobs under a syndicate of 100 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies selected by the Malaysian government. They joined some 400,000 other Bangladeshis who had gone there earlier.

Independent researchers say that around 1-2 lakh Bangladeshis are now jobless, unpaid or underpaid, and in debt in Malaysia.

The UN experts’ letter further said the recruitment process in Malaysia reportedly begins with bribery within the human resources and home ministry officials of Malaysia to obtain “fake quotas for bogus employers”.

“Subsequently, the bribery extends to the Bangladeshi high commission in Malaysia and Bangladeshi syndicated agents to facilitate the recruitment approval. Workers pay fees which go far beyond the actual recruitment costs, in addition to airfare, passport and visa costs, to the syndicate for migration,” it read.

Upon arrival in Malaysia, many migrants find that they do not have the job as promised and are forced to overstay their visa validity, risking further exploitation, arrest, detention, ill-treatment and deportation.

Many have become destitute, facing an alarming humanitarian crisis, the UN experts said, adding that the situation requires urgent attention before it escalates further or before lives are further put at risk.

They urged both the governments to ensure that the migrants under consideration do not face reprisals from employers, brokers or government officials for claiming their rights, while also requesting the two countries to hold accountable the employers, recruitment agents and government officials involved in this exploitative process.

The letter was made public by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on May 26 as neither of the governments responded.

An official of Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva on Tuesday told this correspondent the Mission was awaiting feedback from Dhaka to respond to the letter.

Since 1997, when Malaysia first began formally recruiting Bangladeshi workers, it repeatedly opened and froze recruitment from Bangladesh. It also offered undocumented migrants the scope to return home by paying a small fee.

There were also initiatives to regularise the migrants’ statuses but these processes were often frustrated by unauthorised brokers who deceived the migrants.

Recently, Malaysia set a deadline for workers of 14 source countries to enter Malaysia within May 31 until further notice.

Haznah said this deadline will not be extended. She said this was in the interest of national security as there is already a significant number of undocumented migrants.

Therefore, Malaysia, until the end of this year, is offering the undocumented workers an opportunity to return to their own countries by paying a minimum fee.

Haznah further said the media’s focus should not only be on foreign workers but other issues, including trade, healthcare, education and tourism having ample scopes for expansion.

Bangladesh and Malaysia have bilateral trade of $2.6 billion, with the former’s export being worth only around $300 million to the latter.

Haznah said signing a Free Trade Agreement can significantly increase Bangladesh’s export to Malaysia as well as other ASEAN countries.

Besides, Bangladeshis can also avail themselves of world-standard healthcare in Malaysia, which costs much lower than that of other ASEAN countries, she said.

30th May 2024: Malaysia labour market: Four MPs’ business booms after joining ‘syndicate’

Original Source: Prothomalo by Mohiuddin Dhaka – 30th May 2024

Prothom Alo is publishing a series of reports on the Malaysian labour market. This is Part 1 of the series.

In December 2018, the elected Awami League member of parliament from Feni, Nizam Uddin Hazari, got a licence to send workers overseas. His company’s name is Snigdha International.

In the three and a half years after the licence was issued, they sent only 100 workers overseas. But after they joined the ‘Malaysia syndicate’, around 8000 workers have been sent in the past one and a half years in the name of Nizam Hazari’s agency. Snigdha Overseas ranks fourth highest among agencies sending the most workers to Malaysia.

The Malaysia syndicate includes recruiting agencies of two more members of parliament and two family members of an MP. These companies are 5M International of Feni-3 member of parliament Lt. Col. Masud Uddin Chowdhury (retd), Ahmed International of Dhaka-20 member of parliament Benjir Ahmed, Orbitals Enterprise of Kashmeri Kamal, wife of former finance minister and present member of parliament AHM Mustafa Kamal, and Orbitals International of Nafisa Kamal, AHM Mustafa Kamal’s daughter. Mustafa Kamal established Orbitals Enterprise in 1979.

The Malaysia syndicate does not allow all recruiting agencies of the country to send workers to Malaysia. Only a handful of agencies get this business. There were 25 agencies in the syndicate to start, later this increased to 100 in three phases. The top bosses of the syndicate allegedly take hefty sums of money from agencies to get their name in the syndicate. And the agencies in the syndicate sit and get at least Tk 150,000 per worker as “syndicate fees”. A part of this money goes to those controlling the Malaysian syndicate.

There are 14 countries including Bangladesh that send workers to Malaysia. However, other than Bangladesh, none of the countries have any such syndicate.

After being closed for around four years, when Malaysia’s labour market reopened in July 2022, Malaysia got the responsibility to select recruiting agencies. The ministry for expatriate welfare and overseas employment sent a list of 1,520 recruiting agencies to Malaysia. Only 25 were selected. There were no guidelines for selection. There are allegations of exerting influence and bribery in the process.

UN experts said a large number of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia are living in unsustainable, inhuman and undignified conditions. The workers are being duped into paying huge sums of money with false promises of employment. Certain high level officials of the Bangladesh and Malaysian government are involved with the syndicate

It is now seen that along with the agencies of the three MPs and of the family members of one of the MPs, there are also Awami League leaders, city corporation councillors and many new companies in the sector sending large numbers of workers to Malaysia. Many companies which had stood up against the syndicate have also joined the syndicate now. Yet many old companies have not been given space.               

Meanwhile, many workers are not finding jobs once they arrive in Malaysia. Many of them take loans to go, but return home empty handed.

On 19 April this year the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) posted a statement on its website regarding the predicament of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia. In the statement, UN experts said a large number of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia are living in unsustainable, inhuman and undignified conditions. The workers are being duped into paying huge sums of money with false promises of employment. Certain high level officials of the Bangladesh and Malaysian government are involved with the syndicate. This is unacceptable.

Under the circumstances, Malaysia has suspended taking in foreign workers for the time being. Those who have already received Malaysian visas and approval, must enter Malaysia by tomorrow, Friday.

Also Read: Malaysian labour market set to be closed again due to syndication

MPs’ companies

The Bangladesh Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) over the past one and a half years issues around 450,000 clearance certificates for workers to go to Malaysia. According to the list availed from concerned sources, 5M International tops the list of companies sending workers to Malaysia. BAIRA website names members of parliament Lt. Gen. Masud Uddin Chowdhury (retd) as its managing director.

5M International was established in 2015. According to BMET, the company sent around 2,500 workers to the Middle East after it was established. But after joining the Malaysia syndicate, it was alone taken clearance for 8,592 workers.

Masud Uddin Chowdhury first became MP with a Jatiya Party ticket from Feni-3 in the 2018 election. He had first bought the nomination papers for Awami League. It is said that he later contested from Jatiya Party at the advice of Awami League.

Ahmed International, the company of member of parliament of Dhaka-20, Benjir Ahmed, ranks fifth on the list of agencies sending workers to Malaysia. They hardly had any work before the Malaysian labour market opened up. They had sent only 238 workers overseas. But they scaled to the top once they joined the Malaysia syndicate. So far 7,849 workers have gone to Malaysia through this agency. Benjir Ahmed had been the president of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) at the time that the syndicate was formed.

A total of 9,861 workers have gone to Malaysia through Orbitals Enterprise of former finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal’s wife Kashmeri Kamal and Orbitals International, of his daughter Nafisa Kamal. AHM Mustafa Kamal had been finance minister at the time of the syndicate being formed.

Attempts were made to contact the three MPs and the family members of one of the MPs regarding the Malaysia syndicate. They did not respond. A call was made to the Snigdha Overseas number found on the BAIRA website. The company’s executive director Shahela Parveen replied. She told Prothom Alo, various agencies sent workers though them. But, she said, they did not take any more than fixed by the government.

However, the owners of three agencies which are not part of the syndicate, told Prothom Alo that after receiving demands for workers, they paid fees to the syndicate and sent workers to Malaysia in their name. They had to pay agencies in the syndicate from Tk 152,000 to Tk 165,000 per worker.

Second on the list of agencies sending workers to Malaysia is Oichi International and third is New Age International. Sources say that these two firms are active members of the syndicate.

Joining the syndicate after opposing

BAIRA members contend that now the former BAIRA secretary general Ruhul Amin alias Shawpon is building the syndicate from a leadership position. He has fixed the names of 69 agencies of the 100 in the syndicate. It is through him that financial transactions are carried out in Malaysia. According to BMET records, 7,102 workers have gone to Malaysia through Shawpon ‘s agency Catharsis International. Attempts were made to contact Ruhul Amin for his comments, but he did not respond.

Launching a movement against the syndicate sending workers to Malaysia, the panel supported by Mohammad Noor Ali and Mohammad Abul Bashar won the 2022 BAIRA election. The present president of the association Mohammad Abul Bashar’s agency is not a part of the syndicate. However, his son Ishtiaque Ahmed’s agency BNS Overseas Ltd and his son-in-law Golam Rakib’s new agency PR Overseas have joined the syndicate.

PR Overseas got a licence in October 2021. They have sent over 4000 workers abroad.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, the BAIRA president Abul Bashar said that the syndicate entered the name of his son and son-in-law’s agencies on the list in exchange of money in order to tarnish his reputation. Had those who initially opposed the syndicate not joined the syndicate later, then the opportunity to send workers to Malaysia this time would have remained open to all.

Abul Bashar’s son Ishtiaque Ahmed told Prothom Alo that there was no payment made to join the syndicate. Abul Bashar’s son-in-law Golam Rakib said he knew nothing about paying money, then he cut the phone call.

Meanwhile, Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury was elected BAIRA secretary general in the last election of the organisation. He later resigned. Before resignation, his agency Sadia International joined the syndicate.

Booming business after joining syndicate

With no prior experience in sending workers to Malaysia, BM Travels Ltd, belonging to Dhaka North City ward 39 (Bhatara) councillor Md Shafiqul Islam, has shot to the top of the list of agencies sending workers to Malaysia. His agency has collected 7,225 clearance certificates.

Several members of BAIRA say that councillor Shafiqul has good relations with Ruhul Amin who led in creating the syndicate. Calls were made to him by mobile phone, but he was unavailable.

Dhaka City South Awami League joint general secretary Mohiuddin Ahmed got a recruiting agency licence in July 2022 and joined the syndicate. His company Anonno Apurba Recruiting Agency collected clearance for 2,600 workers. Speaking over mobile phone on 4 May to Prothom Alo, he said that he would speak face to face about it. Later when he was called repeatedly over phone for an appointment, he did not reply.

A number of new companies have entered the Malaysia syndicate and have sent large numbers of workers to Malaysia. Imperial Overseas got its recruiting agency licence in March 2021. Till July 2022 it sent 344 workers overseas, but after joining the syndicate, it sent over 7000 workers to Malaysia.

Two agencies confirmed to Prothom Alo that they paid the syndicate and sent workers through Imperial. The firm’s managing director Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman was contacted over phone. After listening, he said he would speak about the matter an hour later. However, he did not answer the phone after that.

20 billion taka business

The expenditure fixed by the government to send workers to Malaysia is Tk 79,000 per head. In actuality, a much higher sum is charged.

Five organisations including the US-based NGO Veritas Incorporated ran a survey from May to mid-October 2023, interviewing 357 expatriates in Malaysia. The survey report said that on average a Bangladesh worker spends Tk 544,000 to go to Malaysia. And 96 per cent of the workers have to take loans from at least one source.

Md Selim of Narayanganj went to Malaysia in March last year. He did not get the job he was promised there. He was given piling work as a construction worker. He later received head injuries, but the company did not provide him any medical treatment. After suffering for around one and a half months, he was obliged to arrange a ticket with his own money and return home in September last year.

There were apprehensions from before that the workers would face this precarious situation. Various offices of the government were aware of this too. They should not have agreed to sending workers through the syndicate

Tasneem Siddiqui, founder chair, RMMRU

Selim said, “I sold my auto-rickshaw, my wife’s ornaments and took loans to go to Malaysia. I am broke now, inundated in debt.”

The concerned persons say that business of Tk 240 billion was generated by sending around 400,000 people in the last one and a half years. Around Tk 200 billion extra was taken, above the fee fixed by the government. The syndicate took Tk 150,000 per person, totalling over Tk 65 billion.

When asked about the matter, state minister for expatriate welfare and overseas employment Shafiqur Rahman Chowdhury on 11 May told Prothom Alo, Malaysia fixed a list of specific agencies to send workers to Malaysia. Inquiries are being made into the allegations concerning sending workers overseas. Action will be taken against those proven to be guilty.

Though repeated allegations had been made about the syndicate being formed and excessive fees being collected, the ministry took no measures in this regard. In fact, even in 2022 if allowed a syndicate to be formed.

Unemployed in Malaysia

Many workers end up unemployed in Malaysia. The government acknowledges that. According to the expatriate welfare ministry, 5000 of the workers who went to Malaysia did not get employment. Steps are being taken to arrange jobs for them.

However, from Bangladeshis who have long been in Malaysia, it has been learnt that thousands and thousands of workers are unemployed. Some vend goods on the roadside to earn enough to survive. Some buy umbrellas and sell these on the streets when it rains. Some do odds jobs for a meagre earning.

Meanwhile, from January to 24 March this year, 453 workers returned from Malaysia empty handed. They didn’t even have their passports. They came back on travels passes.

Tasneem Siddiqui, founder chair of RMMRU, the non-government research institution for the migration sector, told Prothom Alo that there were apprehensions from before that the workers would face this precarious situation. Various offices of the government were aware of this too. They should not have agreed to sending workers through the syndicate.

*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir

Also Read: Malaysian labour market: Take action against the fraud syndicate

Background Reading

31st May 2024: Govt reaffirms commitment to protect migrant workers’ rights to UN

31st May 2024: The closure of the labor market in Malaysia has shattered the dreams of 31,000 workers

30th May 2024: Comment by Andy Hall, independent migrant worker rights specialist, on ongoing migrant worker management crisis in Malaysia and at KLIA airport today, Bangladeshi workers at high risk of modern slavery

CNA 30th May 2024: ‘Congestion’ at KL airport as employers scramble to bring in thousands of migrant workers before deadline

MALAYSIAKINI 30th May 2023: ‘Migrants influx at KLIA due to employers chasing deadline’

30th May 2024 Benar News: Malaysia’s labor market closed – Migrant workers flock to airports in all countries

29th May Daily Star: Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia – Hiring begins with bribery (UN independent experts say Bangladeshi workers pay up to 8 times for migration alone due to corruption of Malaysia ministries, Bangladesh mission and syndicates)

29th May Daily Star: Airfare to Malaysia surges fivefold

FMT 28th May 2024: Malaysia yet to respond to UN concerns on alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi migrant victims for forced labour in the country(with my full statement included)

For Immediate Release 27th May 2024: Statement by Andy Hall, Independent Migrant Worker Rights Specialist, on today’s public release of UN OHCHR’s unanswered urgent appeal communications to the Malaysian and Bangladeshi Governments 

30th May Star: Cyclone smashes Bangladeshi workers’ hopes, extension requested

Channel News Asia 25th May 2024: Malaysia’s bid to revamp hiring of foreign workers through controversial BESTINET process faces pushback; activists say country’s reputation at stake

22nd May 2024: UN expert – Malaysian law enforcement mixing up human trafficking, migrant smuggling – “What steps has Malaysia taken to investigate alleged complicity of public officials in human trafficking?’’

20th May 2024 FMT: Duped Bangladeshi workers won’t impact Malaysia’s US Human trafficking report ranking, says HR Minister Sim

Malay Mail 17th May 2024: Pengerang employer to face Labour Court in Malaysia after failing for months to pay Bangladeshi workers’ wages over RM1m (government statements and my comments included – months on, court agreed mediation settlement unforced, workers allegedly remain in situation akin to acute modern slavery)

16th May 2024: Firm that left over 700 Bangladeshi workers to dry in Pengerang facing possible prosecution (months on, court agreed mediation settlement unforced, workers allegedly remain in situation akin to acute modern slavery)

14th May 2024: FMT – Activists warn of US trafficking report downgrade for Malaysia amid UN criticism

May 10th 2024 The Star: Malaysian Government responds to OHCHR, IOM, ILO and UNODC joint condemnation on alleged Bangaldeshi migrant worker criminal syndicate by pledging to set up special unit handling migrant workers’ grievances, says HR Minister Sim

9th May 2024: Study: 96% of Bangladeshi workers going to Malaysia fall into recruitment debt– The study also said that 82% had two or more loans and 73% of workers spent at least 50% to 100% of their monthly salary to repay recruitment debts

4th May 2024: UN agencies concerned over Bangladeshi workers stranded in Malaysia – Joint Statement of ILO, IOM and UNODC on Alleged Criminal Syndicate Trafficking Bangladeshi Workers for Forced Labour in Malaysia

24th April 2024: Address plight of duped Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia in response to UN warning, govt told (more on the ongoing saga of an alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi migrant workers for forced labour in Malaysia)

19th April 2024: UN (OHCHR) Statement on Alleged Criminal Syndicate Trafficking Bangladeshi Workers for Forced Labour in Malaysia – ‘Malaysia: Bangladeshi workers must be protected from exploitation and criminalisation, say UN experts’

FMT 19th April 2024: UN experts sound alarm over plight of duped Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia

For more on Andy Hall’s complaint to the OHCHR see 30th Oct 2023: FMT: Andy Hall refers stranded Bangladeshi workers’ plight in Malaysia to UN Human Rights Council

See Daily Star 23rd Apr 2024: Bangladesh Plight of Migrant Workers – Bangladesh, Malaysia working group meeting likely in May

See Daily Star Editorial 23rd Apr 2024: When even legal migrants suffer – Workers migrating to Malaysia legally deserve better protection 

Business Standard 23rd April 2024: Expat Ministry reviews UN complaints on Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia

Prothomalo 23rd April 2024: Bangladesh – Ministry reviewing allegations over Malaysia labour market

BenarNews Malay Language: Pakar PBB gesa Malaysia tangani layanan buruk diterima pekerja Bangladesh (UN expert urges Malaysia to handle bad treatment received by Bangladeshi workers)

Daily Star 19th Apr 2024: UN experts express dismay over situation of Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia

FMT 19th Apr 2024: PSM, news portal set aside order to stop debate on migrant workers’ plight

Daily Star Editorial 17th April 2024: Save our migrants in Malaysia (more on the crisis caused by an alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia)

9th April 2024 The Star – Bangladeshi victims of criminal syndicate trafficking worked for forced labour in Malaysia: ‘Cops after workers, not rogue employers

7th April 2024: SCMP – As Malaysia’s door closes on low-paid migrant workers, companies scramble for staff (and a systemically corrupt migration management and recruitment policy, devoid of the rule of law and leading to impunity and gross exploitation, is revealed)

6th April 2024 Daily Star: A hostel of nightmares for Bangladeshi migrants allegedly trafficked by criminal syndicate for forced labour in Malaysia (and Daily Star Op Ed)

Daily Star Editorial 6th Apr 2024: What will happen to migrants abandoned in Malaysia?

26th March 2024: The Star – Freeze on foreign workers hiring quota in Malaysia stays for now, says HR Minister (with estimated 200,000+ surplus foreign workforce victims facing destitution and abuse)

25th March 2024: Bangladeshi workers (alleged victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) claim being coerced into withdrawing police and labour complaints

Daily Star 25th Mar: Malaysia employer framed Bangladeshi workers

Daily Star 24th Mar 2024: Jailed in Malaysia – 3 Bangladesh workers released

Editorial Prothomalo 24th Mar 2024: Malaysian labour market – Take action against the fraud syndicate

FMT 23rd March 2024: PSM calls on Sim to look into arrest of Bangladeshi workers

MALAYSIAKINI 23 Mar 2024: Stranded foreign workers (alleged victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers for forced labour in Malaysia) nabbed after labour complaints against employer

23rd March 2024 The Star: Half a million vulnerable and irregular foreign workers disappear from Malaysia’s migrant worker regularization programme as deadline looms in one week

23 Mar 2024 The Star: Verification rate lags as RTK 2.0 deadline approaches

22nd March 2024 Malay Mail: Home minister – Over RM9m in fines collected so far through migrant repatriation programme

22nd March 2024 Protomalo: Malaysian labour market set to be closed again due to syndication

20th March 2024: 93 duped/detained Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia have jobs now, says immigration DG

20th Mar 2024 Business Standard: Bangladeshi workers’ plight in Malaysia: Coalition of migration orgs demand action against recruiting agency syndicate

19th March 2024: FMT – Plantation firms wary of ‘forced labour’ concerns in hiring 200,000 surplus foreign workers/criminal syndicate victims in Malaysia, says minister – indeed he’s right, who wants to take on destitute foreign workers often with US$4-7000 in debt?

17th March 2024: FMT – Malaysia’s treatment of migrant workers utterly shameful

New Age 16th Mar 2024: Bangladeshi government must mend issues to keep Malaysia job market open

15th March 2024 SCMP: Malaysians deride minister’s idea to rebrand palm oil workers as ‘specialised harvesters’

14th March 2024: The Star – Opinion: When work in Malaysia is a con – the criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshis for forced labour in Malaysia

FMT 13th March 2024: Bangladeshi migrants file police reports after falling victim to job scam/criminal syndicate trafficking workers from Bangladesh for forced labour in Malaysia

12th March 2024: SCMP – Malaysia to slash migrant workforce amid intolerance, job scam crisis involving Bangladeshi labourers

FMT 11th Mar 2024: Duped migrant jobseekers, victims of alleged criminal syndicate trafficking Bangaldeshi workers to Malaysia for forced labour, face mental health issues, says Malaysian ex-MP

Daily Star Editorial 10th March 2024: Migrating to a life of unemployment

Daily Star 10th Mar 2024: Distressed in Malaysia – Thousands of Bangladeshi migrants jobless, unpaid or underpaid 

9th March 2024: Malay Mail – Activists warn rushed 31st March visa deadline in Malaysia could force firms to source foreign workers unethically (includes my commentary on the abrupt policy change)

9th Mar 2024 The Star: No extension of May 31 foreign worker deadline

NST 9th Mar 2024: Keep recruitment agencies in a list rather than shutting them down, govt told   

See also NST 9th Mar 2024: Sourcing migrant workers takes time, ‘not like buying cattle’, employer groups tell govt

NST 8th Mar 2024: Eliminate middlemen from migrant worker recruitment process, govt told

Star 8th Mar 2024: May 31 deadline for foreign workers recruitment under recalibration programme remains, says Saifuddin

Malay Mail 8th Mar 2024: Saifuddin Nasution: No more agents for Bangladeshi worker recruitment

6th Mar 2024: Malaysian government halts foreign worker entry into the country from 31st May 2024 (final calling visa/VDN approval issuance deadline 31st March 2024) as migrant worker management crisis worsens and victims of gross exploitation, unemployment and destitution rise significantly

6th March 2024: Business Times –Sudden change in foreign worker policy by Malaysian government leaves industry in limbo

6th Mar 2024 Edge: Foreign worker intake deadline changes will leave manufacturers in the lurch, says FMM

6th Mar 2024 FMT: Industry players shocked by foreign worker policy change, says FMM

Mar 5 2024: NCCIM urges govt to review unused foreign worker quota deadline

4th March 2024 URGENT call for donations/support: joining forces with HOPE SELANGOR to fill gap in providing humanitarian aid and assistance to victims of criminal syndicate trafficking Bangladeshi workers into forced labour in Malaysia

Mar 3rd 2024: Concern on repatriation of potential trafficking and forced labour/abuse victims under Malaysian Migrant Worker Repatriation Programme Commencing 1st March 2024 (Statement by Andy Hall, Independent Migrant Worker Rights Specialist)

FMT 3rd Mar 2024: Ensure ‘crooks’ do not gain from repatriation programme, says activist

Mar 2nd 2024 The Star: A chance for illegals to go home

Mar 2nd 2024 The Star: Sarawak immigration extends RTK2.0 until June

Mar 1st 2024 FMT: 600,000 foreign workers urged to take easy exit home

Mar 1st 2024 The Star: Use repatriation programme to return home, 600,000 illegals told

Feb 28th 2024 The Star: New programme lets migrants off the hook without being prosecuted

Feb 25th 2024 The Star: Businesses want foreign worker hiring freeze lifted

Jan 31st 2024 NST: Govt to implement Migrant Repatriation Programme starting March

Jan 31st 2024 The Edge: Cabinet agrees to extend freeze on hiring of foreign workers, says home minister 

31st Jan 2024 FMT: Migrant repatriation programme set for March 1

31st Jan 2024 The Star: Migration Repatriation Programme to commence on March 1, says Home Ministry

FMT 6th Jan 2024: 171 duped migrant workers deserve compensation, govt told (includes my full statement)

5th Jan 2024: New Strait Times – MCA: Don’t just fine employers, hold ministry accountable as well for unemployed foreign workers

FMT 30th Dec 2023: Migrants being duped into Malaysia because of govt’s failure to curb criminal trafficking syndicates and organised crime network, says activist Andy Hall

30th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – Recruitment agencies accused of deception as Bangladeshi victims speak out on exploitation and fear

29th Dec 2023: Malay Mail – Set up probe on exploitation of migrant workers and new ministry to manage their affairs, Suhakam tells Putrajaya

28th Dec 2023: FMT – Malaysia has entered ‘slave labour’ territory, says ex-MP – Charles Santiago calls for specific set-ups to manage migrant workers 

27th Dec 2023: New Strait Times – MTUC demand govt, MACC probe into corrupt recruitment practices of foreign workers

26th Dec 2023: FMT – High recruitment fees make greedy agents bring in workers, says group

25th Dec 2023: FMT – Probe recruitment agents, MACC told after arrest of Bangladeshis

22nd Nov 2023: MALAYSIAKINI – Full probe of migrant worker syndicate, Malaysian HR Minister Sivakumar says

9th Nov 2023: Malaysia – The State of the Nation: Flaws of foreign worker system laid bare in declassified report

30th Oct 2023: FMT: Andy Hall refers stranded Bangladeshi workers’ plight in Malaysia to UN Human Rights Council

23rd Oct 2023: RESPONSE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN REGARDS TO AN ARTICLE BY MR. ANDY HALL/HR Minister – strict actions against employers who fail to comply with Malaysia’s labour and immigration laws

20th Oct 2023 Malaysiakini: Long-awaited foreign worker management report declassified in Malaysia (my comments added)

19th Oct 2023: Malaysia facing huge excess of 1/4 million migrant laborers

21st Sep 2023: Malaysian government has 15 source countries for foreign workers – Comments by Andy Hall

20th Sep 2023: Rate of abused Bangladeshi workers’ entry into Malaysia worrying, says migrant rights activist Andy Hall

12th July 2023: excellent final offering from a 4 part account of atypical modern-day slavery, forced labour and abuse perpetrated against a group of migrant workers from Bangladesh in Malaysia, written concisely and passionately by former MP from Malaysia Charles Santiago

Aljazeera News TV 10th July 2023 – Migrants in Malaysia: Hundreds left stranded in recruitment scam

Reuters 11th Apr 2023: In Malaysia, migrants say they are in limbo after promised jobs fall through

25th April 2023 Sarawak Post: Malaysia And Modern Slavery – ‘PM Must Take Control’

23rd April 2023: REUTERS: Malaysia probes cases of migrant workers left jobless, without passports (with background summary and articles included in my blog post)

17th April 2023 Daily Star: Approval For Labour Recruitment – Malaysia’s transparency questioned by Bangladesh

FMT 13th April 2023: Stranded Bangladeshis endure ‘hell’ in Malaysia – The group of 35 now wants to go home after being left without jobs for months

11th Mar 2023 MALAYSIAKINI: Malaysian HR Minister Sivakumar – Zero checks for migrant quota approvals only until March 2023

13th Feb 2023: My Perspective published by FMT – ‘Time to address corruption in Malaysia’s migrant worker management’

10th Jan 2023: ‘Bangladeshi recruitment cartels’ grip must end’ – Govt now acting on billion-ringgit ‘human trafficking syndicates’

1st Oct 2022 Malay Mail: PM Anwar says Putrajaya to Ease Rules on Hiring Migrant Workers

7th July 2022 The Vibes: How Bestinet courted controversy over migrant worker recruitment – MACC’s raid on IT company once again casts spotlight on alleged hiring monopoly

June 2022 The Star: Human Traffickers made RM2 billion through syndicate smuggling in over 100,000 workers from Bangladesh

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