Sunday, April 14, 2024

Messy affair in Malaysia

Uncertainty grips Bangladeshis as brokers meddle in KL’s amnesty to illegal workers
The much-awaited amnesty programme for the irregular foreign workers in Malaysia starts tomorrow amid confusion in many Bangladeshi expatriates about their status.
Around 5 lakh Bangladeshis work in the Southeast Asian nation. Of them, over 3 lakh are irregular and are facing threats of arrest, low pay or other forms of exploitation.
The amnesty would allow the irregular workers to either return home without facing penalty or continue with their jobs. The announcement came as a great relief to these workers, but many of them are confused about their status because of work permit and employer related issues.
The confusion intensifies with the fact that the Malaysian government is registering the regular workers to create a biometric database of the foreign workers to bring discipline in the sector.
The confusion hits thousands of workers who, prior to the amnesty announcement, submitted passports with hefty fees to brokers or agents for renewal of their work permit. These workers have yet to receive fresh work permit and are in a state of confusion about whether they would consider themselves as documented or undocumented workers.
Mohammad Khalil Mia, who works at a dairy farm in the Malaysian district of Sembilan, said his agent took his passport around 14 months ago but did not return it with renewed work permit.
Talking to The Daily Star at Kota Raya known as Bangla Town in Kuala Lumpur, he said he had come to Malaysia to work as a plantation worker in Pahang district.
He did not get his salary for the first eight months and then was confined in a room for a month along with other workers, he added. Some of them somehow managed to collect their passports and found jobs elsewhere. However, every year they had to go to the agent for fresh work permit in exchange of around RM 2,000.
“We thought we would get our work permit. But now the agent says the immigration department is not going to renew it. We do not know what to do now. We are totally confused,” he said.
Mantu Kumar Biswas, labour counsellor of the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, said the workers who were recruited through outsourcing agents are facing such problems.
Those who have submitted their passports to the immigration department must have a receipt with them, proving that they are documented migrants, he added.
The problem, however, is many such workers do not have that document either, said Goutam Roy, editor of a Malaysia-based Bangla weekly Probashi Kantho that extensively covers migrant issues.
There is strong presence of brokers in Malaysia, he said, adding that if any broker takes money and passports from workers but does not go to the immigration department, there is no question for those workers to get work permit.
In such cases, if these workers are not registered as irregular workers, they will be in deep water, Roy observed.
There are a large number of workers who have work permit but are unable to proceed with the process as they don’t find any employers.
Plantation worker Khalilur Rahman is one such example. Since his arrival in Malaysia in 2008, his outsourcing company Meghnaton provides him with neither job nor work permit. Meghnaton rather asked him along with others to find out jobs on their own.
“I was looking for a job. Sometimes I got a job with normal or low pay, while sometimes I was unpaid,” he said. However, every year he gets his work permit renewed through brokers.
The last time he renewed his work permit through a broker was in June by paying Malaysian ringgit 1,500 [RM1=Tk 25]. But now the Malaysian government has set a rule that regular workers must bring their employers with them to get registered.
This has become a problem for the regular workers like Khalilur, as his original employer Meghnaton now denies registering him and many others like him.
“I am a regular worker but cannot be registered as regular. Should I now burn my passport and get registered as irregular?” he asked. He added it is not possible for him to spend another RM 2,000 to get another work permit after being registered as irregular.
Harun Al Rashid, coordinator of regional migrants’ rights body Caram Asia, said in the books of the government Meghnaton is a blacklisted outsourcing company and that could be the reason why it is not helping the migrants like Khalilur.
There are a number of blacklisted outsourcing companies, whose workers might be in trouble to get themselves registered, he noted.
Editor Goutam Roy said there would be around one lakh Bangladeshis facing such problems.
Asked about the issue, labour counsellor Mantu Kumar Biswas said this is truly a problem and they are trying hard to solve it.
Speaking anonymously, a broker said the only option for the migrants with work permit and without employer is they should get registered as irregular workers.
Many undocumented migrants told The Daily Star they have found it really difficult to get employers who would agree to own them and register them as their workers though they have worked under them.
Mantu Kumar Biswas said the workers must register them even if they don’t find any employers. In that case, the Malaysian government will find employers for them once registration is over.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more