Malaysia is planning to revert to the government-to-government (G2G) approach that does not involve any medium, cancelling the existing G2G Plus system for hiring foreign workers.
On Jul 29, Malaysian national daily ‘The Star’ quoted Human Resources Minister Kulasegaran saying, “We don’t want G2G Plus. Any arrangement should be government-to-government. There’s no reason why we cannot employ direct from the source countries.”
When the middlemen had been removed, there would be less chance of corruption, noted Kulasegaran.
The human resources ministry was also formulating new policies on how to bring foreign workers from source countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Cambodia.
In February 2016, Malaysia and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ‘G2G Plus’ system allowing privately-run manpower recruiting agencies to send workers to Malaysia.
Bangladesh officials, however, have no knowledge on the new move of Malaysia, one of the biggest manpower markets for a long time.
“We know nothing it and the Malaysian government has not informed us yet,” Labour Counsellor of the Bangladesh Embassy Md Sayedul Islam told Bangla Tribune.
Malaysia’s new move came after South Asian country Nepal banned its workers from going to Malaysia due to ‘monopoly’ of security and medical check-ups by a private company as part of Malaysia’s ‘restrictive’ visa requirements.
Private company Bestinet Sdn Bhd is the sole party that carries out bio-medical screening for migrant workers entering Malaysia.
“Workers are not slaves. They come here as guest workers and should be treated with respect. There was no headache during G2G then – and we want to go back to that,” said Kulasegaran.
Over 500,000 Nepalese workers are currently working in Malaysia. About 150,000 of them are hired as security guards, while the rest are involved in construction and manufacturing.
In June this year, a report by The Star revealed that Bangladeshi workers were forced to pay Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 20,000 ($4900) each to their local agents who then paid half of the sum to a human trafficking syndicate to get work permit approvals and flight tickets to Malaysia.
Spearheaded by a Bangladeshi businessman with alleged political connections with the Home Ministry, the syndicate raked in at least RM 2 billion ($490 million) in just two years from Bangladeshi workers.
Due to strong political links to Malaysia and Bangladesh governments, the businessman was also instrumental in signing the 2016 MoU, ultimately sidelining about 1,500 recruitment agents in Bangladesh.
Data from Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) shows 109,562 workers have gone to Malaysia under the G2G Plus system since 2016.
As the allegation of monopoly and corruption surfaced, the Malaysian government suspended the operation of the companies and launched an investigation.
Officials at BMET said the Malaysia employers still hire workers from Bangladesh.
“‘The G2G Plus system still in effect,” said BMET Director (training) Nurul Islam.