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Najib To Meet Zahid Over 1.5 Million Workers issue

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KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will speak to his deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi about the need to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers to the country.

Amid concerns and backlash from non-governmental organisations and the general public, Najib said he would discuss with Ahmad Zahid the recruitment plan on his return to Malaysia from the United States.

“I think we need to make sure that whatever move we make will fulfill the needs of the economy. Some sectors of the economy need workers, like the plantation industry,” he told reporters in San Francisco today, at the end of his week-long US working visit.

Najib, however, cautioned that the government needed to address any concerns of social fallout following the proposed influx of foreign workers.

Ahmad Zahid had recently said the government plans to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers over the next three to five years to meet demand by industries.

He said the workers would be brought in in stages and based on requirements by the workforce.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s leading English newspaper Daily Star reported that the country had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia to send in 1.5 million workers over three years under the G2G Plus (government-to-government Plus) system.

The MoU was inked by Bangladesh Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam and Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Anak Jaem at the Dhaka’s Expatriates’ Welfare office today.

Under the deal, levy for Bangladeshi workers will be fixed at RM1,946 (Tk37,000) while the minimum wage for them will be around RM800 (Tk15,000).

The deal also states that the workers will be recruited in almost all sectors, including services, manufacturing, construction, and plantation, with Malaysian employers to pay for workers’ security deposits, levies, visa fees, and health and compensation insurance.

The new deal was signed following the failure of the G2G labour recruitment system, where only 10,000 Bangladeshi workers have so far been sent to Malaysia since its launch in 2012.

Meanwhile, on the Conference of Rulers’ view that some provisions of the National Security Council Bill 2015 needed to be refined,

Najib said the government took note of the matter.

He said the legislation was not to usurp the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but to address security threats.

“An example is the Lahad Datu incident. Such additional powers are necessary,” he said, referring to the 2013 standoff between Malaysian security forces and Sulu militants, which led to the deaths of about 56 militants and 10 military men. – Bernama

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