Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013

Plantation Jobs

First batch flies to KL by Wednesday

After a four-year pause, the first batch of at least 70 Bangladeshi workers is likely to fly to Malaysia this week for plantation jobs, BMET Director General Shamsun Nahar said yesterday.
“The Malaysian government is expected to send the visa documents for selected workers by tomorrow or the next day [Saturday or Sunday]. So we hope, the first batch of workers will be able to reach Malaysia by March 27,” she said.
Earlier, the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) said the Malaysian government had pledged to send the visa papers by yesterday [Friday].
“Some technical problems caused the delay,” Mantu Kumar Biswas, labour counsellor of Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, told The Daily Star over the phone.
“We hope the visas will reach Dhaka by Monday. The procedure for the workers’ flights will begin then,” he said, adding that initially they would send 60 to 70 workers on a trail basis. All the selected 10,000 workers would fly to Malaysia gradually.
Biswas said, “There are huge job opportunities in the plantation sector. We are lobbying with the authorities here [Malaysia], so that we can make use of this prospect for our people.”
The migration cost for each worker has been fixed at Tk 40,000 while the minimum salary of a worker is Tk 25,000. The workers will have free residential facilities.
Meanwhile, although the Malaysian government increased wages as per demand by migrant workers, it last month announced to impose a levy on the workers. The employers are to bear the cost for the time being but they would later deduct it from the workers’ salaries.
The labour counsellor of the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia said they were very careful about ensuring transparency in exporting manpower to Malaysia, as the process was continuing under state arrangements.
On November 26 last year, the Malaysian government decided to recruit Bangladeshi workers under state arrangements, lifting a ban that lasted for four years.
Later, both the countries signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard to curb the intervention of middlemen.
In February, the government completed selecting 10,000 workers out of 36,670 candidates, who had been selected from more than 14 lakh jobseekers registered online.
The government prepared a database of interested jobseekers for Malaysia through online registration in January this year.