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Malaysia to hire 1 lakh workers from Nepal Jun-15-2010
Keeps mum about visa cancellation of 55,000 Bangladeshis
Staff Correspondent

Putting aside 55,000 Bangladeshi workers whose visas were cancelled in March last year, Malaysia is hiring one lakh Nepalese workers after more than a year of ban on recruiting foreign workers.

Malaysia banned hiring foreign workers in manufacturing and service sectors after a report forecast that 45,000 Malaysians were at risk of losing their jobs.

Early March the same year the Malaysian government imposed a freeze on hiring 55,000 Bangladeshi workers citing global meltdown.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago in November last year, told his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina that they would maintain the freeze on hiring Bangladeshi workers.

The decision came as a smack for Bangladesh.

Malaysian government has already approved around 100,000 visas for Nepali workers. These workers will get entry in six months.

This is far more than roughly estimated 25,000 visas that Nepal used to get in the past, said Kumud Khanal, co-coordinator of Nepalese manpower agencies.

Nepalese manpower agencies have brought down the migration cost to around Rs 40,000 from Rs 80,000 in a bid to send more workers, a recent report of Republica, a Nepalese online newspaper, said quoted him as saying.

Bangladesh's recruiting agencies have expressed grievances over such a decision by Malaysia.

“Sidelining 55,000 Bangladeshi workers is inhumane,” said Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) President Ghulam Mustafa, adding that the workers who had spent a good amount for visas have been in trouble for long.

He said he still expects that Malaysia will consider the case of Bangladeshis as those 55,000 workers did nothing wrong for which they have to suffer.

Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Elias Ahmed, however, said the government has yet to learn about the details of Malaysia's hiring of workers from Nepal.

“If that is the case then why Malaysia shouldn't recruit workers from Bangladesh,” he told The Daily Star, adding: “We will soon contact our mission in Kuala Lumpur.”

Baira President Ghulam Mustafa said if there were any mistakes or misunderstanding all the parties -- Malaysian government, Bangladesh government and the agencies involved in the total labour recruitment process in Malaysia -- will have to fix it.

Workers should not be punished for that, he added.

Bangladesh started sending workers to Malaysia from late 2006. Since then involvement of too many manpower brokers and their dubious roles and hiring of excessive workers have put thousands of workers in trouble.

These workers were low-paid and sometimes unemployed. A section of them were not even paid after works which drew the attention of the global media.

Malaysia, home to around five lakh Bangladeshi workers, had imposed bans several times since 2006 but only to lift them later. It again slapped a ban on hiring Bangladeshi workers in March last year saying their economy was hard-hit by the global economic recession.