POST TIME: 26 August, 2018 12:39:09 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 August, 2018 12:34:41 PM
Malaysia halts G2G plus hiring from Bangladesh
“The new Malaysian govt reacted to the existing recruitment system considering it to be monopolistic”
Rafiqul Islam Azad

Malaysia halts G2G plus hiring from Bangladesh

In a major policy development, the Malaysian government has cancelled the Government-to-Government (G2G) Plus recruitment system in a bid to stop the ‘syndicated monopoly business’ in recruiting migrant workers from Bangladesh.

The Mahathir Mohammed led new Malaysian government in an order issued on August 21st cancelled the G2G Plus system after about two and a half years of its execution.

The order will take effect from September 1 and no worker will be able to go to Malaysia under the G2G Plus system introduced by the previous government, according to a highly placed source in the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment.

The Malaysian government has sent a letter in this regard to the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur but the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment is yet to receive the letter, said the source.

The Malaysian government’s decision came following a huge controversy over the G2G Plus, a labour recruitment mechanism under which about two lakh Bangladeshi workers migrated to Malaysia since 2016.

When contacted, secretary of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Dr Namita Halder confirmed the cancellation of G2G Plus recruitment arrangement.

“The Malaysian government has cancelled the ongoing G2G Plus recruitment statement based on an order issued on August 21. This system will not exist from September 1,” she said.

The secretary, however, said that they were yet to get any new directives from her Malaysian counterpart about sending Bangladeshi manpower from September.

Asked whether there would be any difficulty in sending workers to Malaysia following the cancellation of the recruitment system, she replied in the negative.

“I don’t think that it will hamper exporting manpower to Malaysia. Rather, it may help reduce the cost of sending manpower to Malaysia,” she said. Dr Namita said that the new Malaysian government reacted to the existing recruitment system considering it to be monopolistic.

Only 10 recruiting agencies had been sending manpower to Malaysia under the G2G Plus scheme since March 10, 2016. About two lakh workers have so far been sent to Malaysia under the new system.

However, there is a huge controversy and allegation about monopoly business only by 10 recruiting agencies and realizing money from three to four lakh from each worker instead of government fixed rate of Taka 37,000 only.

It is alleged that the workers paid RM20,000 (around Tk 4 lakh) each to their Bangladeshi agents, who then paid half of the sum to the syndicate to have work permit approvals and flight tickets to Malaysia.

Secretary general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Md Ruhul Amin Swapan said that the Malaysian government did not cancel the system rather it has been suspended.

“The system has not been cancelled. They (Malaysian government) has suspended the (G2G plus) system,” he said.

Swapan, also owner of Catharsis International Recruiting Agency, one of the 10 recruiting agencies who were sending workers to Malaysia under the G2G plus scheme, further said the Malaysian government would recruit workers from Bangladesh through a new system from September.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs in a letter to Synerflux Company, which developed the G2G plus recruitment system, informed about the government’s decision.

The letter dated August 21 mentioned that the government had taken the decision based on the decision of a special committee meeting on the management of foreign workers in Malaysia on August 14, chaired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed.

“The government has decided to postpone the recruitment of foreign workers from Bangladesh citizens through the foreign workers management system (SPPA) to a date to be fixed after a detailed study of its implementation is carried out and screened at the ministerial level,” said the letter.

Earlier, quoting Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, Malaysian daily The Star reported that the new Malaysian government wanted to reintroduce G2G, a state-level labour recruitment system, to eliminate middlemen in the recruitment that has always been marred by corruption and exploitation.

“We don’t want G2G Plus. Any arrangement should be government-to-government (G2G),” said the Minister while talking to reporters.

“There’s no reason why we cannot employ direct from the source countries. If the middlemen were removed, there would be less chance of corruption,” he observed.

Thousands of Bangladeshi workers had to return home from the Southeast Asian country in 2009 after it froze the hiring of workers following widespread media reports of labour exploitation.

Extra workers were allegedly recruited for many name—only Malaysian companies during 2006-09 when private recruiting agents sent workers to Malaysia. Workers were charged over Tk 2 lakh each though the government had fixed the migration cost at Tk 84,000 each.

After about four years of the freeze, Bangladesh and Malaysia in 2012 signed a G2G deal to reduce migration costs and corruption, but only 10,000 workers could secure jobs in Malaysia under the agreement, thanks to alleged conspiracies of the recruiting agents and brokers.

The scandal involving the G2G Plus surfaced after the political changeover in Malaysia in May this year when the government launched a campaign against the corruption of the previous government’s ministers.

According to Bangladesh’s Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, since 2016, nearly 2.20 lakh Bangladeshi workers were sent to Malaysia under the G2G plus system.

An estimated one million Bangladeshi workers are now working in Malaysia, said Bangladesh High Commission officials in Kuala Lumpur.