KUALA LUMPUR: Nepal, hard-hit by Malaysia’s decision to bar the recruitment of foreign workers for the manufacturing and services sectors, has amended a proposed labour pact to help lift the ban on its workers.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) on manpower hit a snag last year largely due to the Nepal government being uncomfortable with a clause allowing Malaysia to create a recruitment base in Kathmandu to directly source Nepali workers.
Nepalese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari said the earlier pre-condition requiring Nepal to approve the setting up of the recruitment base had been “re-phrased to accommodate both sides”.
“On our side, the amended draft is ready. It now states that direct recruitment can be done but with the approval of the Nepal government. This is the change that we have made to accommodate Malaysia’s terms,” he said in an interview.
There are about 174,000 Nepali workers registered here, with unofficial statistics putting the figure at 400,000 including illegals.
Malaysia is the second largest employer of Nepali workers after the United Arab Emirates.
Last year, the security sector here remained the niche for Nepali workers, but the manufacturing sector also accounts for a large number of them.
Dr Adhikari, who said that about 65,000 Nepalese arrived here last year to take up jobs, said he met Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam last week to urge him to review the ban on Nepali security guards.
“He told me that the stand was that if Malaysian security firms could justify recruiting Nepali workers, the ministry would consider it. It would be on a case-by-case basis,” he added.
The envoy, who launched a book on Nepal-Malaysia relations written by Hiranyalal Shrestha on Saturday, said he had proposed that his government consider sending workers to take up jobs as domestic maids in Malaysia.
“I think cases of maid abuse here are isolated as the maids are generally well-treated. I have suggested that a separate MoU be signed to govern the intake of domestic workers from Nepal,” he said.