Malaysian job market likely to open soon

Bangladesh is hopeful that the Malaysian job market would open soon for those willing to work abroad. The market has remained closed for Bangladesh nationals for about 10 months due to irregularities committed by a syndicate of 10 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies.

Sources in the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry say they have held a series of government-level meetings and finally arrived at a consensus with the Malaysian government on sending manpower there. The ministry, however, said the errant recruiting agencies would be given a second chance to rectify their previous errors. The recruting agencies also have to promise that they would not get involved in any irregularities ever again.

After holding three joint working group meetings between the two countries to determine the next course of action concerning the opening of Malaysian job marker for Bangladeshi nationals, the two countries have agreed in principle to open the manpower market.

Malaysia has already started working on their job portal to take the matter ahead. Manpower will be recruited through an online system to avert irregularities.

The online system, instead of the Foreign Worker Application System, will also reduce the financial burden on Bangladeshi

workers. Both the sides have completed necessary preparations to deter any syndicate from committing any irregularities.

Only recruiting agencies with a valid licence will get the opportunity to send manpower to Malaysia.

Bangladesh got the permission of sending people to Malaysia under the government-to-government procedure through 10 recruiting agencies.

Around 15,000 workers were supposed to be sent to Malaysia by December 31 last year. But their work orders were eventually cancelled due to the alleged irregularities of some recruiting agencies.

It was alleged that as many as 10 recruiting agencies were in league with some government and non-government organisaitons of both sides to send manpower. Consequently, Malaysia suspended the labour market from September 2018.

After the last round of meeting, held on May 30, the process is going to be started again. The expatriate ministry has been working to open the market instead of taking action against the errant recruiting agencies.

The ministry would like to give these agencies a second chance to rectify themselves, ministry sources said.

However, the matter was sent to the High Court (HC) that sought reply from the expatriate ministry on what action would be taken against those 10 agencies.

On June 26, the HC directed an inter-ministerial committee to submit a probe report on the exclusive control of the 10 recruiting agencies in labour recruitment from Bangladesh to Malaysia.

The ministry said they are taking preparations to reply to the court on the issue.

Rownak Jahan, secretary of expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry, told The Independent on Thursday: “Everything now depends on Malaysia. We hope the market will open in July.”

“We are upgrading our database by taking information across the country. This database will help bring transparency and accountability in sending manpower abroad,” she added.

Regarding the HC’s, she said: “We are taking preparation to reply to the court’s order.”

Asked what action would be taken against the errant agencies, she said, “The recruiting agencies have said henceforth they will make the entire process transparent while sending manpower. They can be given a second chance.”

In 2009, Malaysia, which is a big market for Bangladeshi workers, had stopped recruiting people. Later in November 2012, after negotiations both the governments signed an agreement stating that no agencies would be involved in recruitment.

In February 2016, the Bangladesh government signed another agreement with the Malaysian government allowing agencies for recruitment.

However, soon after the agreement, Malaysia said they would not take manpower at the moment. Later, a delegation led by a Malaysian minister, visited Bangladesh in November 2016 and the process of sending manpower re-started.

However, the recruitment was stopped again after the alleged irregularities by the 10 agencies.