Moves on to send Bangladeshi workers to Sarawak

The government has taken fresh moves to send Bangladeshi workers to Sarawak province in Malaysia amid controversies over job security and adverse work environment there.

Bangladesh high commission officials in Kuala Lumpur said that they were trying to get hold of the available jobs in the province’s plantation sector.

‘Bangladeshi workers could be sent to Sarawak under the newly-introduced Government to Government Plus mechanism,’ said Md Sayedul Islam, labour counsellor at the Bangladesh mission in Malaysia.

Sayedul, who had a number of meetings with employers in Sarawak on Thursday, told New Age that they were optimistic of securing the jobs for Bangladeshi workers.

Mohammad Habibullah, an executive committee member of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, said that apart from the plantation jobs, there were opportunities in different sectors in Sarawak as huge development activities were going on in the province.

Habibullah, also proprietor of Dynamic Trade Syndicate recruiting agency, added that the Bangladeshi workers could be recruited for jobs in Sarawak by any recruiting agency here.

In 2014, the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training had selected 5,000 Bangladeshi workers for plantation jobs in Sarawak, but they could not be sent due to the lack of response from Malaysian government under the previous G2G regime.

BMET officials said that the Malaysian employers agreed to hire workers from Bangladesh under the newly-introduced the G2G plus system.

A bilateral memorandum of understanding signed in February 2016 introduced the G2G Plus system replacing the G2G arrangement.

The G2G Plus system allows hiring workers for Malaysia by private recruiting agencies. The expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry has fixed the maximum migration cost for Malaysia at Tk 1.60 lakh for each worker.

Over 6 lakh Bangladeshi workers are currently working in Malaysia.

Obhibasi Enterprise chairman Al Amin Noyon, also a returnee migrant from Malaysia, told New Age that Bangladeshi workers might face challenges in Sarawak, an isolated province of Malaysia with rocky, hilly and bushy terrain.

‘The workers will find it difficult to lodge complaints in Sarawak if they face any problem due to the absence of Bangladesh mission there,’ he said.

Migrant rights organisation WARBE Development Foundation secretary general Faruque Ahmed said that workers should be sent to Sarawak only after getting confirmation of their jobs and ensuring full insurance coverage for them.

He also urged the government to ensure low-cost migration for the outbound workers to Malaysia.

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