Malaysia objected to a request by Bangladesh for 2,000 of its recruitment agencies to be allowed to send workers here, according to Human Resources Minister M Saravanan.
Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, he said agreeing to the request could see Malaysia becoming a “dumping ground” for migrant workers.
“We have been in discussions for close to a year on various actions. For example, previously there were 10 companies (in Bangladesh) allowed to send workers to Malaysia.
“I believe I need to increase the number to more than 10, even though I disagreed with a request from Bangladesh for 2,000 companies to be allowed,” Saravanan told reporters after launching the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (2021-2025).
“If there are 2,000 agencies that want to send migrant workers to Malaysia, Malaysia can be a dumping ground.
“We will not be able to oversee it,” he said.
Saravanan said bilateral discussions which lasted close to a year have concluded with both governments reaching an agreement on certain policies.
“A final decision will be made when we bring the matter to the cabinet in two weeks,” he added.
Putrajaya, under the then Pakatan Harapan federal government, had on Sept 1, 2018, suspended the Foreign Worker Application System for Bangladeshi workers, which allowed recruitment to be carried out by 10 selected agencies.
At the time, negotiations on new recruitment terms led by former human resources minister M Kulasegaran had seen multiple delays, up until the Harapan government’s downfall.
The previous system saw Bangladeshi workers apparently having to fork out up to RM20,000 per person to pay agents to facilitate work permit approvals and other arrangements to work in Malaysia.
On a separate matter, Saravanan said his ministry is waiting to hear from British household appliances giant Dyson.
This is over the company’s move to cut ties with local supplier ATA IMS Bhd after forced labor allegations emerged following an audit.
“I’m waiting for a report from the company because I’m hearing two different sides of the story.
“There are three types of stories. My story, your story, and the true story. So now I’m hearing from one side, and waiting for Dyson’s story,” he said.
He was asked for comments on the move which was announced after an investigation by US authorities against ATA, a local electronics manufacturing service provider based in Johor Bahru.
Earlier today, ATA denied the allegations of labor abuse, claiming that an independent investigation it commissioned over allegations that one worker was physically abused indicated this did not occur.