Malaysian govt imposes freeze on hiring Bangladeshi workers

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Singapore, Oct 4 (UNI) The Malaysian government has again imposed an indefinite freeze immediately on employing foreign workers from Bangladesh, because of the numerous problems relating to employers and empolyment agents, the Kuala Lumpur-based media reported today.

However, those employers who have already submitted their applications would get their workers as promised, assured Home Affairs Minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

But, he regretted the lackadaisical attitude of employers and local agents, especially in picking up the workers upon arrival, had created a big problem. Some 2,000 Bangladeshi workers were left stranded in the car park of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The Minister said the problem was exacerbated by agents in Bangladesh, who had collaborated with local agents to bring to Malaysia as many Bangladeshis as possible.

''The employers and local agents take the easy way out when it comes to picking up their employees. If the workers arrive on days close to the weekend or long holidays, they will conveniently not pick the workers up, knowing the workers are in safe hands, will be well taken care of and fed.'' ''Since there are too many problems arising from employing workers from Bangladesh, we have decided to freeze the exercise again,'' he told reporters after chairing his ministry's post-Cabinet meeting yesterday.

The Malaysian government banned employing foreign workers from Bangladesh in 1999 apparently due to the many social problems created by their presence.

Mr Radzi said the problem of stranded Bangladeshi workers had eased somewhat because of the new ruling by the Immigration Department. If the employers fail to pick them up at the KL International Airport within 24 hours, the workers will be moved to the Immigration depot where they will be kept for 72 hours before being deported, he pointed out.

''Somehow, the new ruling works. Employers and agents seem to be very reluctant to deal with authorities at the depot. Having their workers sent home also means more expenses for them,'' noted the Minister.

The situation at the KLIA car park, which at one point had 2,000 newly-arrived Bangladeshi workers, had improved with the number at 600 as of yesterday, said Mr Radzi.

UNI

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