KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said his ministry will not be swayed by letters of support from anyone, including the prime minister, in deciding which Bangladeshi agencies to appoint for the hiring of migrant workers.
News portal Malaysiakini today reported Saravanan saying that it is common practice for Malaysian recruitment agencies to obtain such letters for their Bangladeshi partners.
“These kinds of (recommendation) letters, that’s normal. We will just take note of it... it ends with us receiving the letter,” he was quoted telling the news portal which claimed it has sighted two letters dated August 2 from Jempol MP Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif and Parit MP Nizar Zakaria.
According to Malaysiakini, both Umno MPs had sought Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s support to add four more Bangladeshi agencies to the current list of 25 approved by the HR Ministry.
Malaysiakini reported both Mohd Salim and Nizar had confirmed issuing the letters, saying they had been requested to do so but denied personally knowing the petitioner who is purportedly from Jelebu in Negri Sembilan, nor having a vested interest in the recruitment of migrant workers.
According to Malaysiakini, both letters were near identical except for the names of the Bangladeshi agencies.
The HR Ministry has come under fire in past months for capping the number of agencies that Malaysia will deal with to recruit workers from Bangladesh at 25.
Its critics include industries and human rights groups who argue that this system creates a “monopoly” that could exploit migrant workers.
However, Saravanan has maintained that his ministry’s decision for limiting the number of agencies was to avoid exploitation, and that the selections were made through a fair evaluation system and chosen from a pool of over a thousand applicants.