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Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The Human Resources Ministry’s accreditation of 25 companies to recruit workers from Bangladesh was done to avoid monopolistic practices as well to safeguard the welfare and livelihood of the workers, said its minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

In a statement here today, he also refuted allegations pertaining to the involvement of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the selection of the recruitment companies, saying this is totally false and unfounded.

“My statement of meeting with Her Excellency and explaining the current affairs of the Bangladeshi foreign workers in our country is taken out context. My meeting with Her Excellency was to narrate the current situation of foreign workers and the initiatives taken by my Ministry for better working conditions,” he said.

Saravanan said in effort to create better accessibility for potential workers and to ensure better governance of the recruitment process, his ministry selected the 25 companies from a list of 1,520 provided by the Manpower Ministry of Bangladesh.

He explained that there were only 10 companies involved in the recruitment of workers from Bangladesh prior to this decision which unfortunately led to many workers lured by the promise of decent work and were subsequently left stranded by agencies from both countries.

Furthermore, Saravanan said his ministry will also further accredit another 250 companies which will incubate and operate within the structure of the aforementioned 25 companies to be part of the recruitment ecosystem especially in meeting set standards and guidelines.

The Human Resources Ministry only deals with the 25 designated companies which will be closely monitored so as to guarantee that International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines relating to the welfare of the workers are adhered to, he explained.

“Malaysia is serious in tackling the issue of forced labour which is tarnishing our international standing. And secondly, it is the sole responsibility of the 25 (companies) to ensure that the other 250 meet the strict recruitment standards and international best practices set by the Human Resources Ministry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saravanan said his ministry does not practice preferences regarding certain source countries.

Contrary to that, he said his ministry is only involved in giving approvals to the respective companies to recruit foreign workers to meet their production demands, and as of now, there are 14 source countries in which companies can source their workers from, not particularly only from Bangladesh.

“When I came onboard (as the minister), I made a decision that there will not be any direct or special approval, a rampant practice before which had created too many backlashes especially in-terms of our nation’s international reputation,” he said.

Moreover, Saravanan also informed that the one-stop centre for foreign workers’ approval which was previously under the Home Affairs Ministry has been transferred to his ministry.

“To date, the department has approved approximately 230,000 workers. I would like to congratulate everyone in the Human Resources Ministry for their tireless efforts in helping our business and industry players to overcome their labour shortage predicament.

“It is now up to the relevant companies which have obtained their approvals to pay the levy and make the recruitment and submit the medical report to get a visa with reference with the Home Ministry to expedite the rest of the process to ensure the survivability of our enterprises,” he said.

Previously, it was reported that Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago and two migrant workers’ rights groups had urged Saravanan to explain his decision for only allowing 25 Bangladeshi agencies to recruit workers for Malaysia.

Charles questioned Saravanan on the reasons for the specific number of agencies and how they would help solve the problem of migrant worker exploitation. — Bernama

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