SEPANG: Bangladeshi workers who arrived here recently said their families made great sacrifices to raise the RM20,000 each to find jobs in Malaysia.
The workers told The Star that their families sold cattle and farmland, and even borrowed money at high interest rates to secure employment here.
Even after securing the money, they had to wait for three to nine months before their turn arrived.
“I am happy to be in Malaysia but my priority is to work hard in order to repay the money raised by my family to enable me to get this job.
“Life is very tough back home and my family gave their savings to raise part of the money and borrowed from a moneylender,” said 32-year-old Mohd Rashadil.
He said even after raising the money, he had to wait nine months for his turn to fly to Malaysia.
Amirul, 22, said his family sold a piece of their land to raise the required sum.
“I know it will take some years to cover the cost of coming here, but I’ve no choice – I come here to support my family,” he said when met at klia2 with a group of 50 other workers.
Mohd Abdul, 34, said his family paid RM18,000 to an agent and he got a job within four months.
“I hope to get a high salary and overtime to help my family settle the loan,” he said, adding that he would be working at a factory in Nilai.
A Starprobe investigation found that a syndicate spearheaded by a Bangladeshi businessman with political connections to both countries has been allegedly operating a human trafficking scheme that exploits Bangladeshis while enriching himself and his associates.
The media in Bangladesh also expressed its concern and looks to the Pakatan Harapan government to resolve the issue.
If left unchecked, the image of Malaysia would be tarnished and Bangladeshi workers would not be seeking employment here in the future, warned Bangla TV Bureau chief Golam Rabbani Raza.
“The workers can’t afford that much but were driven by the temptation of earning a good income to help their families recover the cost in a short period,” he told The Star.
The workers, Golam said, coughed up between RM18,000 and RM20,000 each, but upon arriving in Malaysia, found their salaries were too low, requiring them to work for at least three years just to settle their recruitment fees.
Jamuna TV editor Ahamadul Kobir said it was high time the recruitment system was cleaned up.
“We are looking at the new government to act so that workers from our country do not have to pay RM20,000 to find employment in Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Embassy Labour councillor to Malaysia, Md Sayedul Islam, said his government only collected RM8 from each worker for the Centralised Workers Welfare Fund.
Asked why Bangladeshis were made to pay RM20,000 each, he said those questions should be directed at the government.