Malaysia and Bangladesh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers into Malaysia over a span of three years.

According to media reports, the MoU was signed between Malaysian Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Richard Riot and Bangladesh Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam at Dhaka’s Expatriates' Welfare office at 10am (12pm Malaysian time).

The recruitment would be carried out under the government-to-government (G2G) Plus System, which will help control or curb the involvement of agents, increase in payroll costs and hopefully, the exploitation of foreign workers.

The levy for the Bangladeshi workers has been set at RM1,946 (Tk37,000).

Ever since the announcement on the proposed recruitment was made by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last July, the issue had sparked intense debates with many saying Malaysia did not need more foreign workers.

Besides social ills, one other main concern was that the labour import could affect job opportunities for locals.

The Home Ministry, however, had previously explained that foreign workers in Malaysia were only allowed to work in five sectors – construction, manufacturing, plantation, agriculture and services – and to fill in positions which were not popular with locals.

Ahmad Zahid, who is Home Minister, had explained that the proposal to recruit Bangladeshi workers was strictly based on current economic demands.

Ahmad Zahid also recently challenged local youths to take up such jobs – those is the 3D sector (dirty, difficult and dangerous) – if they want the government to reduce the intake of foreign workers.

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READ: No specific figure for Bangladeshi workers entering Malaysia