Suspension won’t affect MoU: Malaysian minister
Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot issued a statement to clarify his ministry’s stance on the agreement on Saturday, The Star Online says.
Riot did not clarify whether his country will start hiring workers from Bangladesh for five sectors in line with the agreement now.
Riot also welcomed Friday’s announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the suspension of hiring workers from all source countries, The Malay Mail Online said.
Riot said he appreciated the government’s prioritisation of local workers.
“However, this announcement does not affect the validity of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the government of Bangladesh,” Riot said in the statement, according to Malaysian media reports..
The statement said further details on the decision to freeze foreign worker recruitment will be announced by the government.
On Thursday, Riot and Bangladesh Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the hiring of Bangladeshi workers.
The MoU was aimed at opening up jobs in service, construction, farming, plantation and manufacturing sectors on government-to-government basis.
Officials said Bangladesh will be able to send 1.5 million workers under the MoU.
But on Friday, Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Hamidi announced the freeze on hiring foreign workers, prompting a debate in both countries.
The freeze will be effective until Malaysia ascertains its actual manpower needs, he said.
The announcement surprised officials in Dhaka.
The Bangladesh expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry said Bangladesh should not worry about what has appeared in the Malaysian media or what their deputy prime minister has said..
Javed Ahmed, additional secretary in the ministry, said, “This agreement at the ministerial level is a major document. We have not received any information about a liquidation of the process it entails.”
Neither the Malaysian government nor Bangladesh’s ambassador and labour counsellor there mentioned anything in this regard to Dhaka, he said.
The announcement drew mixed reactions in Malaysia.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress, which has been protesting against hiring foreign workers, welcomed the decision.
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers has urged the government to review the decision.
Malaysian Employers’ Federation, Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association and Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia have also criticised the announcement.