Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bangladeshi Workers Allowed For The Sake Of Bilateral Relations

The government's decision to reconsider the freeze on Bangladeshi workers is for the sake of Malaysia-Bangladesh bilateral relations. Furthermore there were sectors that depended on the Bangladesh workforce.

"The government also took into consideration Malaysia's economic contribution to the people of that country, so that's why we considered the decision," Home Affairs Ministry parliamentary secretary said at the Dewan Negara sitting, here today. Workers from Bangladesh once represented a big portion of cheap labour in Malaysia but in 1996 the government froze their intake following issues relating to discipline and social consequences.

**** According to Bangladesh's The New Nation, more than social problems led to the earlier ban. It said: The Malaysian authorities imposed the ban as many Bangladeshi young workers used to get married with Malaysian girls to have legal status and earn more. But at the end these Bangladeshis left their Malaysian wives causing serious social problem.

Another factor that perhaps delayed the recruitment was that Bangladesh put up Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury MP as candidate for the post of OIC secretary general. Malaysia, which also fielded its own candidate for the post, wanted that it would be easier for Malaysia to win the post if Bangladesh stayed away from the race. So did an entire worker community suffer because of one diplomatic decision affecting a 'brother' Muslim nation involving OIC politics? Perhaps. And at the end of it did we win the OIC post?

Why then the decision to have them back here again? Why the sudden surge of concern in our 'bilateral relations' now, when we so easily cast them aside the last time? Another round of elections coming up somewhere that Bangladesh will be instrumental in helping out? Or have we had enough with the Indons, Nepalis, Vietnamese and others?


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