A group of the country's labour exporters has demanded syndicate agencies authorised to send Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia be punished for charging more than the government prescribed rate.
The group, "Shommilito Somonnoy Front, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies" made the call, placing a 10-point demand concerning overseas recruitments at the National Press Club in the capital on Monday.
"While the government has set the labour migration cost for Malaysia at Tk78,990 per person, these agencies are demanding around Tk3.5 lakh," said Mohammed Faruque, president of the front.
"Anyone can easily cross-check the matter by approaching a syndicate agency as an aspiring migrant," he told the conference, adding that workers' fears of increased migration costs are true and well founded.
"Some 25 of these agencies have even begun medical examinations of aspiring migrant labourers without government permission," added Faruque.
He demanded licences of these agencies be cancelled for such irregularities.
Speakers at the event also urged the government to allow all legitimate agencies to export workers to Malaysia, amending the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by a joint working group of the two countries.
They also called for stopping using the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System software.
Mostafa Mahmud, secretary general of the front, said without government support, a syndicate of agencies for sending workers to Malaysia would not have been possible.
"Some agencies are also trying to form another syndicate for sending labourers to Libya, like the one for Malaysia, although the governments of the two countries are yet to agree on this," he added, urging the government not to allow that.
Bangladesh is to resume sending workers to Malaysia this month, as issues relevant to the matter have finally been resolved in a joint working group meeting on 2 June in Dhaka, seven months since the signing of a letter of intent in this regard.
Bangladesh has left it up to Malaysia to decide how many agencies will send workers from Bangladesh to Malaysia.
Consequently, a group of 25 recruiting agencies was picked. Other Bangladeshi recruiters have been protesting the system since then.