Bangladesh yesterday lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian authorities seeking stern action against Malaysian company PTC Asia Pacific for failing to provide appropriate jobs and facilities to Bangladeshi recruits.
Meanwhile, Malaysian police picked up the 82 agitating Bangladeshi workers during demonstrations on the Bangladesh high commission premises in Kuala Lumpur on Friday night and handed them over to Tenaganita, a local human rights organisation.
Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, adviser for foreign affairs, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministries, at an emergency meeting at the ministry decided yesterday to send a team led by expatriates’ welfare secretary Abdul Matin Chowdhury to Malaysia to probe the incidents regarding expatriate workers.
“Actions are also being contemplated against Bangladeshi agencies if found to be at fault,” Iftekhar told journalists following the meeting.
“We give utmost importance to any matter that involves the welfare of Bangladeshi workers. We have a great responsibility towards them. At the same time, Malaysia is an important market for our expatriate workforce. So the matter is delicate. We are looking forward to the cooperation of Malaysian authorities and all concerned,” he said.
The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment is giving the highest priority to the recent problems of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia — particularly to the workers who had been on hunger strike on the high commission premises, Iftekhar added.
Meanwhile, a Tenaganita official in Kuala Lumpur told The Daily Star over the phone that the 82 workers are now staying at a place in Rwang, Kuala Lumpur.
“The police picked up the workers in two buses to [send them to] a far off place, but they did not agree to get off. We [Tenaganita] then negotiated with the police and kept them in a shelter,” he said.
Tenaganita is currently providing shelter to about 300 jobless workers who left the jobs as they were either underpaid or forced to work longer hours by their employers, the official added.
The official also said that around 4,000 to 5,000 Bangladeshi workers are now stranded at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as their employers did not show up to receive them.
Quoting Malaysian newspaper The Star, AFP yesterday reported that the Malaysian immigration authorities established a makeshift camp for foreign workers in the car park of KLIA.
Malaysia’s immigration department chief Wahid Don said corralling the workers in the car park would prevent the workers from loitering in the main airport buildings and creating an ‘unpleasant’ situation for other travellers.
The Star reported on Saturday that thousands of foreign workers, mainly from Bangladesh, have been forced to camp in the car park while waiting for their employers to pick them up.