Malaysia won't allow graft in recruitment: Bangladesh

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Mahathir Mohamad on foreign workers

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said his government will not allow any corruption in the process of hiring foreign workers into that country.

During the tenure of the previous government, there was a lot of corruption involving the employment of or the bringing in of foreign workers, reports Bernama, state news agency of Malaysia.

“Now we have a proper policy for foreign workers. We do not allow any corruption or buying or selling of workers or the smuggling of workers,” said Mahathir, leader of the new government that came to power in May.

“We want only people that have jobs in Malaysia to come in,” he said during a dialogue session at a Malaysia-Japan business conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, second day of his three-day visit to Japan.

“We need to know how many workers you need so that we can ensure when you don't have enough Malaysians, then we allow foreign workers to come in for a period of time.”

His comments came in response to a Japanese businessman, who lamented on the need for a clear-cut policy on foreign workers as companies faced bureaucracy problem to renew visas for them.

The issue is significant for Bangladesh too as an estimated one million Bangladeshis live in Malaysia. Of them, around 500,000 remain undocumented mainly because of fraudulence by the brokers, agents and employers.

According to experts, some Bangladeshis are also the victims of trafficking in the Southeast Asian country that is heavily dependent on foreign workers in the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing sectors. But there are allegations of corruption in the process of recruiting foreign workers.

The Malaysian government suspended recruitment of Bangladeshis since September 1 following allegations that Bangladeshis were charged high recruitment fees -- Tk 3.5 lakh to Tk 4 lakh each.

The previous Najib Razak-led Malaysian government had selected 10 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies that monopolised the recruitment under G-to-G Plus deal signed early 2016.

Nepal has also stopped sending workers to Malaysia following allegations of overcharging its workers through Malaysian companies in Nepal.

The Malaysian government has formed a committee to develop a unified mechanism for recruitment of foreign workers, but it is yet to declare the system.

Malaysian human resources minister in late June had declared that it would investigate the corruption in recruiting foreign workers.

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