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Shatter syndicate, sustain fair play

BAIRA urges govt to ensure level playing field for manpower export to Malaysia
Staff Correspondent
11 May 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 11 May 2022 00:02:33
Shatter syndicate, sustain fair play
BAIRA leaders address a press briefing at the National Press Club in the capital on Tuesday – Shamsul Haque Ripon

The Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) on Tuesday asked the government to ensure an equal opportunity for all legitimate licence holders to export manpower to Malaysia.

They said a free and fair labour market with an inclusive participation of all valid recruiters instead of just giving favour to any syndication is the order of the day.

The leaders of the association of recruiting agencies came up with their saying at a press conference held in the National Press Club on Tuesday.

They said if a hooked syndicate of 25 recruiting agencies gets approval, the implementation of overseas employment of 1,000 workers from each upazila, as per the announcement of the Prime Minister, will be hampered and the migration cost will go up as earlier.

Citing the previous incidence, former general secretary of BAIRA Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman in his written speech said then syndicate of 10 recruiters used to take above Tk 3.5 lakh per head while they promised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to export worker at only Tk 35,000.

According to the government data, some 2.75 lakh workers went to Malaysia under the G2G Plus system from February 2017 to December 2018 while Malaysia agreed to take 15 lakh workers in the period of 2016 to 2018.

Later Malaysian labour market, which holds the potential of huge remittance, was closed in 2018 due to the syndicate’s unscrupulous activities, according to the BAIRA leaders.

In the question and answer session during the press conference, former BAIRA president Md Abul Basar said in the name of various purposes, the syndicate is seen to enhance migration cost and also launder money to Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and North America including Canada’s Begum Para.

If the new syndicate of 25 recruiting agencies gets the go-ahead, it will have a very negative impact in the labour export sector while at the same time, about 2,000 recruiting agencies will lose their business, continued the leader.

“Besides, it also runs the risk of increasing the possibility of money laundering again,” he warned.

The BAIRA’s former president named the previous Amin-Swapan syndicate, which he said, has become active again.

In his speech, former BAIRA finance secretary Mizanur Rahman said, “The government should announce that it will not approve any form of syndicate and tell the Malaysian minister again that if they want to hire workers from Bangladesh, the process should be the same as all other 13 countries from where labour is being exported.”

The formation of any such syndicate will not serve the interest of expatriate workers, nor will it serve the nation either, rather it will hamper the country’s reputation, Mizanur said, urging the government to probe into the irregularities relating to labour export and money laundering.

The leaders at the press conference recalled that a series of complexities arose in connection with the syndication relating to manpower export and troubles will always be on the heels if manpower recruitment goes back to syndication.

In response to the letter of the Malaysian minister, Bangladesh’s expatriates’ welfare minister proposed following the MoU or finalising the recruitment process through a joint working committee meeting by referring to Bangladesh’s Competition Act and equal rights of all licensees.

The BAIRA members said voice is being raised against the company involved in various malpractices in Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur; Dato Shree Amin, a Malaysian citizen of Bangladeshi descent, and his Bangladeshi counterpart Ruhul Amin Swapan are calling the shot and helping the company to come to the fore.

They accused Ruhul Amin Swapan of being directly involved with the syndicate that realised a huge sum from the migrant labour in the name of health check-up.

The Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies sought to hold a demonstration in the form of a human chain in front of the Press Club against syndication as per their previous schedule while the syndicate members under the banner of Trinomul BAIRA announced a similar programme on the day and on the same place.

Sensing an untoward incident, police imposed 144 and did not permit organising such activity at that moment.

BAIRA leaders accused the lawmen of taking away their loudspeaker, banner and festoon so that they cannot put up a human chain.

Later, they took approval for organising a press conference and brought new banner and required accessories for the event.

Against the conspiracy and irregularities of the syndicate, Basar as the president of the event said they will send a memorandum about the day of event to the home ministry, foreign ministry, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry on Tuesday and to the Prime Minister’s Office on Mach 13.

“We will organise a roundtable on March 16 and a grand rally on March 24,” he made a vow.

Former BAIRA general secretary Ali Haider Chowdhury, its former senior vice-president Shahadat Hossen, former finance secretary Md Fakhrul Islam and hundreds of the association members attended the press conference.