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2 May 2024

Union of Catholic Asian News

The plight of duped Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia must end

Following months of media reporting, UN experts on April 19 issued a statement expressing dismay over the situation of Bangladeshi migrants who had traveled to Malaysia for jobs through the official labor migration process...

Why are these migrants facing such dire conditions?

The answer lies in a statement made by Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on Oct. 23 last year, disclosing that a total of 667,418 foreign workers had entered the country, against the government’s forecast of 518,000 under the “relaxation and recalibration program.”...

Bangladeshi migrants spend an average of 500,000 Taka ($4500) to get to Malaysia, although according to the deal signed by the two countries in 2022, each migrant was supposed to pay only 80,000 Taka. The rest of the money goes to the intermediaries. Many employers also participate by getting more than the required number of approvals for recruiting foreign workers.

Many questions have been raised about the criteria Malaysian authorities use to select the 100 recruiting agents from Bangladesh. But as of now, no answers are forthcoming. Industry insiders concede these agents are part of the “influential quarters” that pull strings in Malaysia and Bangladesh, pushing up the recruitment cost.

Malaysian authorities have stopped issuing new approvals for foreign workers amid the dire humanitarian situation across Malaysia. However, many migrants have already fled the employers who failed to provide them with the promised jobs. They have become undocumented migrants and are being detained...