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M'sia's foreign worker freeze ‘eyewash’, says Bangladesh ministry

Published:  |  Modified:

The Bangladeshi Expatriate Ministry acting secretary has called the announcement yesterday that Malaysia’s foreign worker intake will be frozen an “eyewash”.

Begum Shamsunnahar was reported in Dhaka Tribune saying Bangladeshi nationals will continue their plans to work in Malaysia following the agreement between the two countries.

"It is just an eyewash. The Malaysian government has made the announcement to calm the pressure groups in that country who do not want foreign workers' recruitment.

"Bangladesh will send workers to Malaysia as per the deal signed between the two countries," Shamsunnahar was reported saying yesterday.

“The decision comes a day after Bangladesh inked a deal to send 1.5 million workers to Malaysia under Government-to-Government Plus mechanism,” wrote Dhaka Tribune .

The official was responding to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement yesterday following outcry over the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to import the Bangladeshi workers.

Adding to the confusion was Human Resources Minister Richard Riot yesterday claiming the figure of an additional 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers was incorrect and a misperception .

'Bad deal for Bangladesh'

In a follow-up report today, the same English daily reported that Bangladeshi authorities have yet to receive any official statement from Malaysia over the announced freeze.

It also reported Bangladeshis criticising their government over the MOU as ill-conceived and had not taken into consideration previous pitfalls such as the earlier G2G mechanism “that resulted in many skilled Bangladeshi migrants becoming illegal aliens in Malaysia”.

“(Malaysia’s) media continuously focused on these debate going on regarding this manpower hiring from Bangladesh. Then why were we not prepared before signing the MOU?” asked Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) executive director CR Abrar.

“Without making any assessment, signing another deal with the same government was not a good decision.

“Actually our government always negotiated with them from a weak position,” said Abrar, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University.

Dhaka Tribune estimates 300,000 Bangladeshis work legally in Malaysia, “while a further one million are estimated to be staying illegally”.

It also cited government figures putting remittances from Malaysia to the country at US$1.4 billion (about RM5.9 billion) last year.

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