17 February 2016, The Daily Star

Private recruiting agencies yesterday wrote to the prime minister seeking her intervention in halting possible monopoly by a “syndicate led by a Malaysian company” in hiring Bangladeshi workers there.

They made the plea as Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dhaka tomorrow over recruiting 1.5 million workers — both male and female — in the next three years.

Bangladesh cabinet on February 8 approved the draft MoU despite a series of controversies since Malaysia last year announced that it would hire Bangladeshi workers through private sector.

“We have learned from reliable sources that in the draft agreement, Malaysian private company Synerflux Sdn. Bhd has been awarded the main job in recruiting Bangladeshi workers, including collecting job demand letters from the employers,” said the letter.

Mohammed Abul Basher, president of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira), signed the letter.

“They [the company] want to control the business [recruitment] through the syndicate. Thus, the foreign company through its syndicate members would have scopes to make profits unilaterally, and deceit [workers].”

The Daily Star has a copy of the letter, which also claims the government had promised that all Baira members would be involved in the recruitment process, but the expatriates’ welfare ministry has not even consulted Baira about the MoU or how Bangladeshi recruiting agencies would be involved.

“We went to the minister and secretary [of expatriates’ welfare ministry] to learn about it, but they did not give us the cabinet-approved draft MoU,” Baira said.

According to the platform, those who deceived Bangladeshi workers in the past are out to control the business again.

Moreover, the economic condition in Malaysia is not good now, and a racket is trying to make money out of the recruitment process. The workers will have to count two to three times the government-fixed cost and yet many may not get jobs once there, it said.

Baira urged the PM to instruct the authorities concerned to include provisions in the MoU so that all Baira members can be involved in the hiring process.

Labour relations with Malaysia, home to some 6 lakh Bangladeshi workers, have long been fraught with tension. In 2009, Malaysia imposed a ban on recruiting Bangladeshi workers, following malpractices in recruitment, joblessness, low wage, non-payment and bad living conditions when private recruiters were solely responsible for recruitment in 2007-08.



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