PETALING JAYA • Malaysia and Bangladesh yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to bring 1.5 million workers over the next three years to work in South- east Asia's third-biggest economy.
According to Bangladesh's The Daily Star newspaper, the country's Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam and Malaysia's Human Resources Minister Richard Riot signed the MOU in Dhaka yesterday morning.
The Bangladesh Cabinet approved the draft agreement on Feb 8 despite a series of controversies after Malaysia announced last year that it would hire Bangladeshi workers through the private sector.
Under the deal, the levy to bring in each Bangladeshi worker is to be fixed at RM1,946 (S$655).
The deal has courted protests, including from the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, which signed a letter stating its stand against the possible monopoly by a "syndicate led by a Malaysian company" in hiring these workers.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a strong proponent of the move, has said that many employers had applied to the government to bring in the workers as most Malaysians avoid doing the so-called "3D" - dangerous, dirty and difficult - jobs, such as working on plantations and farms, in restaurants and even as factory hands.
A section of Malaysians has opposed the move to bring in the Bangladeshi workers, amid concerns over an economic slowdown, saying that many migrant workers are already working here.
THE STAR, THE DAILY STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK