Sunday, November 29

Let refugees work, not bring in more Bangladeshis – Ideas

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government should give permission for the refugees especially the Rohingyas to work in this country instead of allowing more Bangladeshi workers to be brought to Malaysia.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said he was baffled by the government’s decision to recruit more Bangladeshis especially in the plantations sector, as they were clearly not interested to work in that industry.

Wan Saiful, who is also Southeast Asia Network for Development (Seanet) director, said the Home Ministry had allowed the recruitment of 500,000 foreign workers from Bangladesh to work in Malaysia’s plantations but the Bangladeshis usually prefer not to go into plantations.

“According to Bangladesh’s Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, a few years ago the target was for 50,000 workers to be sent to Malaysia every six months,” he said in a statement yesterday.

However, he said they only managed to send 7,000 workers over two years and clearly they were not able to meet our demand.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday was reported as saying that 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh would be brought to Malaysia in stages over three years to meet the demands of employers from various sectors.

“It will be better if the government gives permission to the hundreds of refugees who are already in Malaysia today, especially Rohingyas (to work in this country),” Wan Saiful said.

Wan Saiful said such a move would not only give them opportunity to have a better life but it would save the cost of outsourcing the middle men to bring in the foreigners to work here.

“Many are eager to work but not allowed to and there is no need to pay additional money to private agencies to bring them in because they are already here. Use of this simple logic will save us money,” he said.

He said allowing the refugees to work will also be a sign of commitment to the spirit of the Asean community as many of the refugees in Malaysia are from Asean countries.

“We don’t need to go as far as Bangladesh to source for workers when so many have risked everything in search for a better life in Malaysia,” he said adding that it was more rational and logical to employ those who are already here and keen to make a better life. — Bernama