Rejecting the allegations of allowing syndication, the government has firmly stated that transparency would be ensured in sending workers to Malaysia.
“We will not allow any syndication. We will never do anything that can go against the interest of our workers,” Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad told the Daily Sun.
“It will be too early to make any comment regarding the number of recruitment agencies. We are still working to determine the process,” he said.
Earlier, Malaysian news portal Malaysiakini published a report quoting a document that outlined the proposed process and procedure on the recruitment and repatriation of Bangladeshi workers.
The document shows the recruitment process -- starting from the application to workers’ arrival -- will be done through the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) involving Bangladesh Recruiting Agencies (BRA) and sub-agents. As per a section of the document titled “Quota Auto Allocation to BRA and Engaging BRA”, workers to Malaysia will be recruited from a list of 25 BRA, supported by 250 sub-agents.
Since the publication of the report, manpower exporters and migration activists smell something fishy in the process.
Former secretary-general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury said, “Our expatriates’ welfare ministry is claiming that there would be no syndicate. But we have come to know from various sources that there is a quarter trying to benefit a section of recruiting agencies.”
On December 19, Bangladesh’s Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad and Malaysia’s Human Resource Minister M Saravanan signed a new five-year labour recruitment agreement that lifted a freeze imposed since September 1, 2018.
Malaysian migrant rights group Tenaganita has urged to disclose the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) terms, raising concerns over the possible revival of an alleged ‘syndicate’.
The previous agreement suspended by the Malaysian government had involved 10 Bangladeshi recruitment agencies and their associates which had attributed to high recruitment costs and other labour abuses.
Imran Ahmad, however, has denied any possibility of syndication from Bangladesh’s part. He said the market is open for all legal recruiting agencies.
“If any recruiting agency with all necessary legal documents can collect work orders, labour wing of Bangladesh Embassy in Malaysia will complete attestation,” he said.
The minister said everything will be done according to the MoU signed between Bangladesh and Malaysia.
He also said as per the MoU, a Malaysian employer can directly liaise with the chosen BRA or appoint a Malaysian agent to facilitate the recruitment process.