Malaysia eyes Myanmar labourers as alternative to Bangladeshis

Published: August 01, 2018 13:52:22 | Updated: August 03, 2018 10:20:25

Malaysian factories are hiring Myanmar labourers directly, without charging them broker fees, because of a labour shortage, according to the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation.

“Employers from Malaysia are directly hiring Myanmar workers with zero fees. This will lead to the increase of workers in the peninsula,” U Kyaw Zaw, general secretary of the federation, told The Myanmar Times Tuesday.

Members of the federation said they expect to send hundreds of workers to Malaysia because Nepal has banned the export of its workers to Malaysia, and Malaysia has banned labourers from Bangladesh at the moment.

According to the Star Online news site, the Nepal government barred its nationals from going to Malaysia for work because it was dissatisfied with the requirements imposed on them by Malaysian immigration.

Nepal was likewise unhappy with the private company monopoly that its workers are forced to go through for security and medical checks as part of the visa requirement, the report said.

The Malaysian government has suspended hiring Bangladesh workers in the wake of allegations that Bangladeshi businessmen were earning millions of dollars from smuggling workers into the country.

U Kyaw Zaw, a federation executive, said that officials from three Malaysian companies recently visited Myanmar looking to hire workers at no cost.

Currently, a plastic producing company in Malaysia is conducting interviews of Myanmar workers they hope to hire. The company needs 300 workers.

But, Myanmar migrant activists and workers in Malaysia have warned Myanmar workers not to come to Malaysia because of unsafe working conditions, low salaries and government crackdowns on illegal foreign workers. They advised them to find work in other countries.

“We do want our workers to come here via the legal agencies under the supervision of the ministry,” said U San Win, chair of the Kathpone Free Funeral Service Society in Kuala Lumpur.

He is also a representative appointed by the Myanmar embassy to protect and help Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia.

Around 1300 Myanmar workers have gone to Malaysia every month since March. The ban on sending workers to Malaysia was lifted by the Myanmar government last December 26.

The government banned workers from going to Malaysia after former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak delivered a speech accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against Muslims in Rakhine State.

Before the ban, up to 2000 Myanmar nationals went to Malaysia for work every month.


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