Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said he is “shocked and appalled” by the action of the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to launch its own job portal to cater to its citizens in Malaysia.
The minister said the website "Chakrir Khoj" could mislead and confuse the public and undermine the government’s efforts to address Malaysia’s foreign labour situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saravanan said the move was done without consulting or notifying his ministry.
“It is unreasonable on the part of the High Commission to take such action which goes against the roles and responsibilities of a foreign diplomatic mission...
“It is inappropriate for the Bangladesh High Commission to launch the said employment portal in Malaysia, which is seen as undermining the government’s planning to manage the actual demand of foreign labour in the country,” Saravanan said in a statement yesterday.
According to a press statement issued by the High Commission of Bangladesh last Saturday, Chakrir Khoj was launched on April 8 by its High Commissioner to Malaysia Md Golam Sarwar.
It aims to help “thousands of undocumented Bangladeshi expatriates” get jobs, the statement reads, by facilitating easy communications with recruiters and removing intermediaries from the recruitment process.
The portal would also help prospective employers in Malaysia and undocumented or overstayed Bangladeshi migrants to participate in the Malaysian government’s foreign labour recalibration programme.
The programme comes as some key sectors of Malaysia’s economy face a shortage of foreign labourers and difficulties recruiting local workers to fill vacancies.
At the same time, many migrant workers who travelled to work in Malaysia with valid papers suddenly found themselves out of work when the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to close or pare down their workforces.
However, Saravanan said his ministry is already advertising job vacancies involving the recruitment of migrant labour through the "MyFutureJobs" portal and asserted that Chakrir Khoj could confuse local employers.
The MyFutureJobs portal aims to ensure that no Malaysian worker is deprived of job opportunities in the recalibration exercise.
“The said employment portal (Chakrir Khoj) may cause an influx of Bangladeshi illegal workers to the country, which could lead to exploitation due to the uncertainty of their immigration status that could mar Malaysia’s image,” the minister added.
Saravanan said Chakrir Khoj could also jeopardise businesses of over 400 private employment agencies licensed by the Department of Labour to bring foreign workers into the country.
“These local companies have been out of business for over a year but are still paying the required licence fee,” he said.
As for Malaysia’s efforts to address the migrant labour situation, Saravanan said the recalibration programme is jointly run by his ministry and the Home Ministry from Nov 16 last year until June 30 this year, involving the manufacturing, construction, plantation, and agriculture sectors.
During last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the Human Resources Ministry was given the mandate to prepare a paper on Malaysia’s foreign labour requirements in all economic sectors, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As much as I acknowledge the industry’s dependence on foreign workers, especially in sectors that are deemed unattractive to local workers, the ministry has always remained steadfast in ensuring that local workers are given priority to fill the job vacancies,” Saravanan said.