Nurul Islam, however, would not confirm if the market is closed for Bangladesh after the announcement.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Islam said they came to know the decision through the media. “We have sent a note verbale to understand the issue. Our High Commission in Malaysia is in touch. We are trying to understand the problem.”
According to the Malaysian media, their government suspended the current Foreign Worker Application System for the recruitment of workers from Bangladesh.
This is a ‘government-to-government plus’ system introduced in 2016 following the 2012’s G2G system which was sluggish in nature.
In G2G plus, ten designated Bangladeshi recruiting agencies assist the government to send workers.
Since 2016, about 200,000 Bangladeshi workers went to Malaysia under this system compared to about 12,000 under the G2G between 2012 and 2016.
But the new Malaysian government said the whole process was “a total mess” and it resulted in the migrant workers paying exorbitant amounts of money to middlemen in both Bangladesh and Malaysia.
They also suspended those ten agencies, which are part of the syndicate involved in the recruitment process.
Replying to a question, the minister said it is not “true” that the Malaysian market is closed.
“They are changing the system,” he said, adding that even this decision they came to know through the media.
“We did not receive an official letter from them,” he said, adding that the Bangladesh mission in Kuala Lumpur will take the explanation to understand the problem.
“We will know clearly and our joint working group will take the decision in the next meeting,” he said, adding that, “If they stop G2G plus, normal process, G2G, will remain open.”
Asked whether the government would take steps against those agencies, the minister first avoided that saying “we did not regulate them. The Malaysian government gave them the permission to take workers.”
“But I am against any syndicate from the beginning,” he said, adding that the syndicate has not been created from the Bangladesh side.
After repeated questions, the minister said he would issue a “show cause” notice to them.
Asked about the future of those who are in the pipeline, Secretary Namita Halder said those who have completed the visa process by August 30 would not be affected. The number is about 30,000.
But she asked others who have paid to the recruiting agencies but could not complete the visa process to talk to their respective agencies.
The Reporters for Bangladeshi Migrants organised the press event with its President Feroz Manna in the chair. General Secretary Masudul Hoque moderated the event.