BD HC unhappy over monopoly in manpower export to Malaysia

Dhaka, Aug 21 – The High Court on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over slow progress of the inter-ministerial committee’s investigation over the allegations of monopoly practised by 10 recruiting agencies engaged in recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia.It warned the members of the probe body to take contempt of court if they would fail to submit the investigation report before it by November 14 over the issue.
The HC bench, comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal came up with the warning as the probe body failed to submit the investigation report before the court yesterday in line with its previous order.
Earlier on June 26, the HC bench directed the committee, formed as per its earlier directive, to submit its probe report by July 18. But, the committee is yet to submit the report.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Barrister Rashna Imam stood for the writ petitioner, while Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan represented the ACC.
Barrister Rashna Imam, counsel for the writ petitioner, told reporters that the government has formed the nine-member probe committee, including the ACC, on February 10 this year to investigate allegations of irregularities and corruption levelled against 10 recruitment agencies. The committee is yet to submit the report. Hence, the HC bench specified the timeframe of submitting the report and fixed five categories to prepare the reports.
On October 29 last year, the HC had directed the government to form an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the monopoly of 10 recruiting agencies and submit the probe report within six months. It had come up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed by the recruitment agencies.
A syndicate of 10 recruiting agencies was formed after Bangladesh and Malaysia signed a hiring deal—G-to-G Plus—in early 2016. It created a total monopoly in sending workers to Malaysia. As per the recruitment deal, the hiring cost was set at Tk. 37,500 a person, but it was later revised to Tk. 160,000 on June 14 last year.
The actual recruitment cost, however, eventually went up to around Tk. 400,000. Under the G-to-G Plus deal, over two lakh Bangladeshis have gone to Malaysia since early 2017. However, Malaysia has suspended labour recruitment from Bangladesh since September 1 this year following allegations that the syndicate was charging high recruitment fees and exploiting migrant workers. – Staff Reporter