M’sia freezes recruitment of foreign workers, kills dreams

Malaysia is not going to recruit any foreign workers until the end of the year as it has decided to prioritise jobs for locals amid the economic slowdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, announced on Monday, has dealt a blow to Bangladeshis’ hopes of landing jobs in Malaysia soon.

Malaysia, which is home to some 800,000 Bangladeshi migrants, suspended recruitment from Bangladesh in September 2018 following allegations of a syndicate that used to charge Bangladeshi workers up to 400,000 taka ($4,700) each for jobs in Malaysia.

The two governments have been working on measures to check anomalies and prevent any syndicate of recruiting agents in the recruitment system.

However, Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources M Saravanan told a news conference on Monday: “We will not allow [new] foreign workers until year-end. They [foreigners] can come as tourists, if they are allowed.”

After launching the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) initiative under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) in Putrajaya, he said there are now about two million foreign workers in the country, reported Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

Saravanan said: “We try to reduce foreign workers in the workforce besides giving priority to locals to secure jobs.”

He said the ministry would evaluate the move by year-end to see if it was effective in helping the locals.

He advised job seekers not to be too selective about jobs, so that the country can reduce its dependence on foreign workers.

He said: “Don’t think about waiting for a suitable job because the right job might not exist in the immediate future.”

Meanwhile, Fortify Rights and Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN) on Tuesday called for the Malaysian government to end arbitrary arrests and detention of refugees and migrants in the country.

The Malaysian authorities rounded up and detained thousands of refugees and migrants during a series of immigration raids starting on May 1 despite the heightened risk of Covid-19 transmission in detention facilities.

They continue to arrest and detain refugees and migrants, said a joint statement from RWDN and Fortify Rights.

On June 14, the Malaysian health ministry reported that a 67-year-old man from India died of Covid-19 on June 12 at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) outside Kuala Lumpur.

The ministry reports at least 735 cases of Covid-19 in IDCs across Malaysia.

During period of recovery from the pandemic, the Malaysian government should ensure refugees and migrants are provided with tailored protections to address their specific needs, including access to food and ability to pay for accommodation, the rights bodies said.

Fortify Rights executive director Amy Smith said: “Malaysia should ensure all refugees have legal status and access to basic support mechanisms.

“This is about public health as well as human rights.”

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Published on 24 June 2020
Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/international/msia-freezes-recruitment-foreign-workers-kills-dreams

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