ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
10,000 Bangladeshis arrive to work in M'sian plantations
Publication Date : 11-01-2013
The arrival of 10,000 Bangladeshis to work in Malaysian plantations will reduce the burden of local planters hampered by the shortage of labour.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok said that, in reality, plantations were still short of about 26,000 to 30,000 workers.
“The 10,000 coming in should certainly help,” he said.
He added that in the past five years when the government had frozen the intake of Bangladeshi workers, the smooth running of plantations had been affected, especially during the harvest season.
He also said labourers from other countries were looking at going to other countries besides Malaysia, or in the case of Indonesian workers, staying at home to boost their own burgeoning oil palm industry.
At the same time, the ministry said they had made an effort to get locals to work in plantations in the middle management and supervisory levels as one of the ways to reduce dependency on foreign labour.
It was reported earlier last week that the Bangladeshi government will open up an online registration process for 10,000 plantation workers seeking jobs in Malaysia.
This followed a government-to-government deal in November to recruit 500,000 workers in the manufacturing, service, agriculture and construction sectors in the next five years.
Meanwhile, Incorporated Society of Planters chairman Daud Amatzin said that while the new move would definitely be a blessing to the industry, he hoped that there would be a more long-term and concrete plan to ease the labour shortage.
“This is a perennial problem and it is not good for business. The decisions made in the past were knee-jerk actions; we need certainty. We can’t keep changing policies,” he said.
He also hoped the government would help simplify the process for planters and not impose a heavy levy.
“We also hope the host country will do its part in the health screenings and not let some third party agents take advantage of the workers,” he said.
The government imposed the ban in October 2007 following claims that employers and third party agents were mistreating the Bangladeshi workers.
The last straw came when thousands were forced to camp at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for weeks when employers and agents were late to pick them up.