E-Paper বাংলা
2024-06-01 10:33:41

Labour market in Malaysia closed

Special Correspondent

Labour market in Malaysia closed

Malaysia, the second largest labour market to Bangladeshis, has stopped recruiting workers from foreign countries. The country has suspended to take workers from all source countries. Hence, the labour market of Malaysia has been literally closed for 14 countries including Bangladesh from 12 pm on Friday onwards.

In the last moment of permitted departure to Malaysia as workers on Friday, there was huge crown seen at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) on Friday. However, almost 31,000 Bangladeshis couldn’t able to go to Malaysia even after getting visas and spending Tk of hundreds of thousands. The authority tried to send them by arranging a special flight, but couldn’t able to do that. The workers, who even incurred loans for going abroad, were seen in distress at the HSIA.

The labor market of Bangladesh abroad suffered a major shock due to the closure of entrance to Malaysia, where nearly 5 lakh workers went in the last one and a half years. The data of Bangladesh Manpower Employment and Training Bureau (BMET) says that the Malaysian labor market was opened in 2022 with various efforts after being closed for four years. After that, against the demand letter received from Malaysia, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare allowed 5, 24, 946 workers to go to Malaysia. Last March, it was informed by Malaysia that no more workers will be taken for the time being. And those who get approval and visa should enter Malaysia by May 31.

According to the latest Malaysian authorities, only the passengers of the flight that left Dhaka on Friday (31 May) before 12:00 am will be accepted as workers. No more flights departing after 12pm will be allowed. 4, 94, 102 people have been able to go to Malaysia till Friday midnight. As such, 30, 844 Bangladeshi workers who received visas and approvals could not go to Malaysia. It can be seen on the ground on friday that thousands of workers have gathered at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to go to Malaysia on the last day. Many of them have been staying at the airport for four or five days. Despite the assurances from the agencies, the flight tickets were not available.

Habibur Rahman, a Malaysia bound worker from Natore said, “I have been waiting at the airport for five days, but couldn’t get any flight ticket. The agency says they are trying, and people have to wait for having tickets. Although the price of the ticket is Tk 40 thousand, they took Tk 80 thousand taka. Then they said that the ticket price has been increased. Last Thursday, the agency said that a ticket was received. For this they demand additional Tk of 50 thousand. I got a loan from the home town and paid that extra money but I have not received any ticket till now.”

He also said, "I got a job in an electric company in Malaysia. The visa also came 20 days ago. Since then I have been chasing the agency for tickets. So far they have taken 6.5 lakhs from me. I raised money by selling land, cows and wife's jewellery. Additional money had to be borrowed for the last ticket. If I can't go now, there will be no other option but to fall into distressed situation.”

Rubel Hossain, another person named from Munshiganj said, "I am in danger by giving money to the agency. The visa came about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been trying for getting tickets. But they keep turning around for tickets. Now they are saying that after a week the Malaysian flights will start again and then you will be able to pay the ticket.”

Akbar Ali from Madaripur said, "I visited different places for eight to ten days, but did not get any ticket. Rushing for tickets ran me out of money. I slept at the airport last night due to lack of money. I have only Tk 40 thousand left. Now the agency is asking Tk 1.5 lakh for the ticket. Where can I get so much money? I don't know if I can go to Malaysia now because I didn't get the ticket on time.”

According to the owners of recruiting agency owners, since the opening of the labor market in Malaysia, there has been a scramble for air tickets. All limits have been exceeded since last March, when Malaysia announced entry to be ended by May 31. A ticket of Tk 20 thousand is sold for more than Tk 1 lakh. In the end it was not available. Even after trying for a week, no flight tickets were available. Special flights have been arranged by the government on the last day. But if this system had been in place a month earlier, so many workers would not have had to return helplessly. Neither the worker nor the agency had to face financial loss.”

It is known that the Malaysian labor market, which is one of the desirable places to the workers of Bangladesh, was closed in the first phase in 2009. Then the labor market was re-launched at the end of 2016. Later, in September 2018, the Malaysian labor market was closed again. The labor market reopened in 2022. Now the country has suspended hiring again. Labor market stakeholders say that the Malaysian government will allocate new quotas and start recruiting workers from all source countries, including Bangladesh, from the second half of 2024.

(The report was published on print and online versions of The Bangladesh Pratidin on June 1 and rewritten in English by Lutful Hoque Khan) ​​

Latest News