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Mass arrest continues

Undocumented BD workers helpless in KL

Expatriates are victims of fraud agents

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04th-Aug-2018       
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Reza Mahmud :
Thousands of undocumented Bangladeshi workers have become helpless in Malaysia in the face of unabated mass arrests there.
"We are victims of fraud agents and agencies in both Bangladesh and Malaysia. That is why we have become undocumented to face uncertainty," said Abdur Rahim Sheikh from Kuala Lumpur.
He said he is one of the over one lakh Bangladeshi undocumented workers, who failed to secure documents during the rehiring programme conducted by the country.
The irregular foreign workers, including Bangladeshis, are passing days in nightmare, as the immigration department and the police drive everyday in different areas of Malaysia in order to arrest irregular foreign workers.
Hundreds of Bangladeshi illegal workers have been arrested so far. Many more are facing arrest or may be compelled to return home by the end of this August.
According to official data, there are about eight lakh Bangladeshis in Malaysia.
Among them, around three lakh workers are undocumented, while another one lakh are facing cancellation of their work permits on account of the new policy of the present government.
Those who have stayed there 10 years, they might be victims.
Of the three lakh workers, about two lakh have applied for registration under the rehiring programme.  
Rest one lakh workers failed to apply because of the dishonest agents.  In these circumstances, hundreds of irregular Bangladeshis are living with uncertainty fearing arrest and exodus. Sources said, many foreign workers, including Bangladeshis, have changed their workplaces for which they were legally recruited, due to high wages.
In this situation, the Malaysia government has launched a rehiring programme two years ago to legalise such undocumented workers. The programme ended on June 30. The Immigration department of the country started to arrest to flush out all illegal foreign workers by August 30 this year.
Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, the Director-General of the Immigration Department of Malaysia told the media, there is no room for illegal workers to stay in the country after August 30.
According to the rules, the workers could not apply for the documentations. They had to apply through some affiliated agents there.
But some dishonest agents collect money from the workers, but did not finish the job. That is why those one lakh workers failed to make documents for legalizing.  
"I have changed my company due to meager salary and become irregular worker. In such condition, I have given an agent 5,000 Malaysian ringgits (about Tk 1 lakh) for making legal papers. But the agent has not finished his work. He disappeared with the money," said Abdur Rahim Sheikh who went to the country in 2015.
Hundreds of workers are facing such problems after being victims of those fraud agents.
Apart from these, migrant rights groups and Bangladeshi workers there blamed dishonest recruiting agencies also for the migrants' jeopardous situations.
They said those dishonest recruiting agencies sent hundreds of workers without proper work permits.
Yet, the Bangladeshi embassy in Kuala Lumpur is not doing anything for the helpless workers.
The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment also ignore them, so far the workers alleged.
When contacted, Dr. Nomita Halder, the Secretary of the ministry told The New Nation, "We have nothing to do for the illegal workers." She asked, "What can we do for them who failed repeatedly after the government of the country has given them chances to be legalised?"
They should have to take the chance of rehiring programme, she added.

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