PETALING JAYA: Only RM9,000 from about RM20,000 paid by Bangladeshi workers went to 10 authorised recruitment agents operated by a syndicate.
A Bangladeshi businessman who claimed that he was the spokesman for the 10 companies based in Dhaka said the rest of the money was distributed to middlemen, including those in villages.
He told The Star that the workers were coaxed by their own friends and close associates into going through the middlemen instead of the authorised agents.
The greedy friends and associates, he said, would then make the workers pay huge sums of money.
“The Bangladesh government clearly declared that recruitment of workers to Malaysia could only be done through these companies and yet, they chose to go through the middlemen.
“The workers have a choice to come to us but they ... end up paying more money,” he said.
On why only the 10 companies were allowed to hire workers to Malaysia, the man said a government-to-government agreement in 2016 paved the way for the 10 companies to be the sole hirers.
However, he said, both governments decided on the 10 companies to reduce the cost of the migrant workers.
“And, we provided the service at only RM9,000.”
When probed on the reason for the RM9,000, the businessman said it was to cover the cost of air transfer, the workers’ accommodation, visa and other charges.
On Friday, The Star reported that a human trafficking ring, spearheaded by a Bangladeshi businessman linked to the Home Ministry, raked in at least RM2bil in just two years from Bangladeshi workers.
A probe revealed that the workers paid RM20,000 each to their local agents who then paid half the sum to the syndicate to facilitate work permit approvals and flight tickets to Malaysia.
It is learned that since late 2016, more than 100,000 Bangladeshi workers have been brought into the country under the system, while more than 100,000 are waiting for their turn.
The Star’s investigation also revealed that the businessman, who had a “Datuk Seri” title, masterminded the organised and “legalised” multibillion-ringgit human trafficking scam.
Due to his strong political influence in both Malaysia and Bangladesh, the businessman was also instrumental in getting the two countries to sign the government-to-government agreement two years ago.
The agreement ultimately sidelined about 1,500 recruitment agents in Bangladesh.