- Malaysia is home to around 8 lakh Bangladeshi workers
- It suspended labour recruitment in 2018 following allegations of monopoly by a syndicate
- Immigration cost per person was supposed to be Tk37,000, but it has increased to Tk4 lakh
- Despite G2G agreement to export 1.5 million workers in 5 years, only 40,000 have been exported in 4 years
Manpower exporters have demanded that all labour destination countries, including Malaysia, be kept open to them, abolishing the syndicate system.
"A syndicate has become active even before the opening of the Malaysian labour market. We demand equal opportunity for all the recruiting agencies of the country," Dr Md Faruq, president of the Sammilito Samannay Front, said at a press conference in the National Press Club in the capital on Thursday.
Dr Md Faruq, in his written speech, said, "In the G2G Plus agreement signed in 2016, the Malaysian government announced that 1.5 million workers would be imported from Bangladesh in five years, 3 lakh workers per year."
"At that time, the immigration cost was set at a maximum of Tk37,000 per person and an online system was introduced in the recruitment process. The responsibility of exporting labour was given to 10 agencies instead of 1200 agencies. It was one of the worst conspiracies in the history of manpower export," he added.
"Using immoral transactions and political power, the syndicate of 10 agencies took control of the entire manpower export business. They propagated that export of workers through a syndicate comprising 10 agencies would ensure the maximum welfare of the workers and the cost of migration can be controlled this way," he alleged.
"In 2017-18, the cost per person to go to Malaysia stood at Tk4 lakh, whereas it was only Tk1.5 lakh in 2009. The cost of immigration was supposed to be reduced to Tk37,000, but because of the syndicate, the cost has increased further," Md faruq added.
Malaysia, home to around eight lakh Bangladeshis, had suspended labour recruitment from Bangladesh in September 2018 following allegations of monopoly by a syndicate of recruiting agents and high cost of migration.
Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, immediate past secretary general of Baira told TBS, "The Bangladesh government has started the process to sign a protocol with Malaysian government to reopen the labour market. We urge our government to ensure the equal business access in the protocol for all recruiting agencies."
"However, we heard that the previous syndicate has become active again while the labour market is going to reopen. That is why the agency owners are concerned about it," he added
Malaysia agreed to reopen its labour market to Bangladeshi migrant workers in October last year.
During a virtual meeting with Bangladesh's Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan gave his consent to start taking Bangladeshi workers as soon as possible.
Earlier in 2009, due to the global economic recession and diplomatic tensions, Malaysian labour market was shut down. After the market was closed for a long time, the government lobbied hard and in 2012, and the G2G system was re-introduced in the market.
Md Faruq said, "The G2G system was the result of the conspiracy of some NGOs. Despite the agreement to export 1.5 million workers, only 40,000 workers have been exported in four years."
The demand for Bangladeshi labourers has been created in Malaysia since 1984. Until 2009, all agencies had the opportunity to export workers to Malaysia according to their qualifications without any hindrance.
Former Executive Member of Baira Redwan Khan Borhan and Managing Director of Minar International JH Ghazi, among others, were present at the press conference.