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Malaysia to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers

Offer does not include illegal migrants already in Malaysia -- many of whom have travelled on people smuggling boats from Bangladesh.

26.06.2015
Malaysia to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers

By P Prem Kumar

KUALA LUMPUR

 Malaysia plans to bring in around 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh over the next three years, according to the country's home minister.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Friday that an agreement would be inked between the two governments next month, as testament to the immense demand for employment from various industrial sectors in Malaysia.

"We expect to sign the agreement in the month of Syawal [after July 17] in Dhaka. These workers will be involved in various fields, especially in the plantation sector and will meet the demands of the job market in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak," he said.

The plan does not however involve illegal migrants already in Malaysia -- many of whom have travelled on people smuggling boats with Rohingya Muslims from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

On arriving in Thailand -- the gateway to Malaysia -- many have been held them at temporary camps by human traffickers who demand ransoms from their families back home.

If no ransom is paid, the refugees are often beaten and/or killed.

Hamidi underlined Friday that the initiative only involved "fresh workers from Bangladesh".

"Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants working here are not involved and we will continue to deport them," he told reporters Friday.

Malaysia is currently one of the largest employers of Bangladeshis working overseas and presently employs around 600,000 Bangladeshis.

However, the number of illegal migrants from the country has recently crossed the one million mark.

The Malaysian government is now deporting those with no proper papers back to their home country.

After a long break, Malaysia resumed the import of workers from Bangladesh for its plantation sector under a government-to-government mechanism in 2013.

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