Malaysia-Bangladesh to finalise zero-cost recruitment deal soon


MALAYSIA and Bangladesh are close to finalising the zero-cost recruitment agreement that will facilitate the hiring of Bangladeshi migrant workers into the country soon.

“I’m sending the Malaysia-Bangladesh Joint Working Group to Dhaka, Bangladesh, soon to iron out the remaining issues on the zero-cost recruitment agreement.

“Almost all matters have been settled and we have come very close to finalise it,” said Human Resources (HR) Minister M Kulasegaran (picture).

“The Bangladeshi government has said they won’t be sending workers without due compliance and there must be due compliance to the necessary provision, just like what we reached with Nepal,” he added.

Malaysia is looking to establish another zero-cost recruitment agreement for migrant workers to eliminate forced labour and avoid possible trade sanctions from importing countries.

The new terms agreed by Bangladesh and Malaysia would be similar to the recruitment agreement signed with Nepal last year.

Under the agreement, employers are responsible for the recruitment service charges, two-way airfare, visa fees, health check-up, security screening and levy charges.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran urged local rubber glove makers to immediately submit the Social Compliance Audit Report (SCAR) as importing countries continue to seek Malaysia’s resolution on the issue of sustainability recruitment.

He said as the world’s largest producer and leading exporter of rubber gloves, Malaysian companies should adhere to the highest standard of social compliance and commit to the welfare of migrant workers.

“We have been discussing with industry players for the past two years to encourage them to speed up the submission of their audit report, which must come before Jan 1, 2021.

“With the pressure from the importing countries, primarily the US, they should voluntarily be having it now to address the issues,” Kulasegaran said after a town hall session for rubber industry in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“We are the largest rubber glove manufacturer in the world, so we should play by the rules,” he added.

Last October, the US Customs and Border Protection blocked imported goods from five companies that were accused of practising forced labour, including Malaysia’s glove maker, WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd.

The US Customs said imported goods that are wholly produced or in part of forced labour are illegal to be imported under the US law. The forced labour in its definition includes convict labour, indentured labour and forced or indentured child labour.

The instruction by the US Customs came after about 2,000 of WRP Asia Pacific’s migrant workers from Bangladesh and Nepal staged a three-day strike for being withheld from their salaries early last year.

The blockage also has taken a toll on WRP Asia Pacific as it has temporarily suspended its business operations in December and appointed interim liquidators.

The SCAR is an internal mechanism commissioned by a company that covers all of the requirements under the purview of the HR Ministry.

The audit report includes the validation of the employees’ wages, Social Security Organisation and Employees Provident Fund contributions being paid on time, implementation of allocated leave entitlement, and housing accommodation for workers.