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Malaysia – Jobs and special identity cards for Bangladeshi workers

23 August 2013

Beginning early next year, Malaysian officials will begin recruiting 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers. Each worker will be given a new special identity card fitted with radio frequency identification and biometric data, as part of a new government-to-government agreement.  

The cards will be colour coordinated to represent various employment sectors and prevent workers from unlawfully changing job. Any employee found switching employment sector will be fined up to MYR 12,000 (USD 3,621). Each worker will also be screened before recruitment to ensure that none has a criminal record. 

Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said: “[The workers] will be brought in under a government-to-government agreement to prevent the exploitation of middlemen. We are also discussing similar arrangement with other countries; such as Indonesia and Myanmar.

Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, the Bangladeshi Minister of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, commented: “The government-to-government deal would reduce the workers costs from MYR 13,284 (USD 4.000) to MYR 1,328 (USD 400) for each worker. Earlier, they had to work for four to five years to repay the cost because of exploitation by middlemen. Now they can settle the amount in two months.”  

Malaysia is currently working towards doubling its skilled worker numbers by 2020. Skills shortages continue to hamper economic growth, and as a result the Malaysian government has sought to encourage Malaysian expats to return home. Despite recent violence involving workers from Myanmar, increasing numbers of foreign workers are being brought into Malaysia to fill skills gaps. 


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