PUTRAJAYA: A total of 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers, scheduled to be recruited in stages from early next year, will be issued special identity cards (IC).
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ICs would have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and biometric technology, and would function as a debit card and stored-value card (such as Touch & Go).
"The cards would be colour coordinated to indicate different employment sectors to prevent the workers from switching jobs," he told reporters after a courtesy call from Bangladesh Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain here on Thursday.
He said the workers would be screened to ensure that they had no prior criminal records before being recruited and those found moving sectors would be fined up to RM12,000.
"One of the issues discussed was temporary housing for the workers, so they will be taken care of and to prevent assimilation problems with locals," said Ahmad Zahid.
He said the Bangladesh workers' entry had been agreed during Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein's term as Home Minister, to cater to the shortage of workers in the plantation and services sectors.
"They will be brought in under a government-to-government agreement to prevent exploitation by middlemen.
"We're also discussing the same approach with other countries such as Indonesia and Myanmar," he said.
Meanwhile, Khandker said the government-to-government deal would reduce cost from US$4,000 (RM13,284) to US$400 (RM1,328) per worker.
"Before this, they had to work four to five years to repay the cost due to exploitation by middlemen, but now they can settle the amount in two months," he said. - Bernama
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