Both Bangladesh and Malaysia have seen significant potential for exporting Bangladeshi labour to Malaysia, and both countries are taking steps to protect the rights of workers and establish a transparent and secure labour market. As an effort of collaboration, a meeting was held between Bangladesh’s Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Imran Ahmed and Malaysian officials.
Bangladesh’s Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Imran Ahmed, held discussions with Malaysian officials in order to explore opportunities for expanding Bangladesh’s labour market in Malaysia. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Interior in Putrajaya, Malaysia and centred on ensuring the safety and fairness of employees and enhancing their abilities.
Enhancing bilateral relations and worker protection initiatives
Minister Imran Ahmed, speaking at the meeting, expressed his satisfaction with the warm and cordial relations between Bangladesh and Malaysia. He acknowledged Bangladesh’s contributions to the development activities of various nations, including Malaysia, and emphasized the government’s efforts to improve employee skills. Minister Ahmed said, “Bangladesh is contributing efficiently and successfully to the development activities of various countries, including Malaysia. The government has taken various initiatives to improve the skills of the employees.”
Present at the meeting were representatives from the Bangladesh High Commission, including Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kuala Lumpur Khorshed Alam Khastagir, Minister (Labour) Nazmus Sadat Selim, Malaysian Immigration Department Director General Datuk Ruslin Jusoh, and senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Later in the day, the Expatriates’ Welfare Minister met with V Shivakumar, Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources. This meeting centred on the prospective influx of additional Bangladeshi workers, such as maids and security guards, into the Malaysian labour market. Both ministers emphasized the significance of ensuring fairness and safety for these employees, with the goal of establishing enhanced mechanisms to safeguard their rights.
Malaysia’s growing demand for Bangladeshi workers
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Trading (BMET), Malaysia recruited a total of approximately 25,000 workers in January 2023, while Bangladesh exported 50,090 workers to Malaysia last year. In January of this year, the total number of employees exported was 1,04,513. Saudi Arabia recruited the most workers, 42,697 (40.85%), followed by Malaysia (24,994; 23.91%), Oman (16.93%), and the United Arab Emirates (6,583). The current recruitment trend in Malaysia indicates that Bangladesh could export between 3 and 4 million labourers to Malaysia by the end of the year.
Moreover, growing demand for Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia opens promising opportunities for the country. In light of this, the Malaysian labour market was opened and the process of transferring employees commenced with the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two countries in December of last year, after a protracted diplomatic effort. According to the Bangladesh High Commission, the Bangladesh Embassy is working closely with the Malaysian government to locate new employers for Bangladeshi workers so that they will not be subject to discrimination upon their legal entry into Malaysia.
Lucrative salary package
According to the new salary structure of the Malaysian government, newly hired employees will receive a monthly salary of at least 1,500 Malaysian ringgit (equivalent to Tk37,000). In accordance with Malaysian law, they will also be entitled to all other workplace benefits, including overtime pay, free housing, health insurance, and accident insurance. According to the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, it is anticipated that in the next three years, more than 5 lakh new employees from Bangladesh will be employed in Malaysia, resulting in total remittances to Bangladesh exceeding $3 billion.
Previously, Malaysia had prohibited the employment of Bangladeshi nationals due to a number of complaints, especially social issues. They point to a group of working-class Malay girls who are marrying Bangladeshi expats in Malaysia and endeavouring to remain there permanently as the primary social issue. Additionally, they raised additional concerns. For instance, illegal travel and failure to return to the country after the allotted time, extortion of additional funds from employees by Bangladesh’s manpower exporting agency through deception, etc. The Malaysian government was unable to disregard these discrepancies and halted Bangladeshi labour exports.
The rate of sending employees to Malaysia has decreased while the rate of illegal migration has increased. To combat human trafficking, the government of Malaysia has decided to liberalize the labour market. There are currently 2,135,000 foreign employees in Malaysia. Six million Bangladeshis are employed in a wide variety of occupations.
In response to the growing demand for Bangladeshi labourers in Malaysia, both nations are establishing mechanisms to safeguard the rights and well-being of these workers, as Mondays meeting took place. The collaboration between Bangladesh and Malaysia aims to establish a more transparent and secure labour market, which will economically benefit both countries and improve working conditions.