23 Bangladeshi job seekers stranded at KL airport

Twenty-three Bangladeshi job seekers have been stranded in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for nearly two months as their Malaysian employer Network Esquire Sdn Bhd is yet to receive them although they have all valid documents.

Bangladeshi recruiting agency Fahmi International Ltd processed the documents of these workers who arrived in the Malaysian airport on February 12 and were detained by the Immigration Department there.

Network Esquire now says the immigration department did not allow the workers to enter the country. It received Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 2,700 as fees to hire each worker and an additional RM 20,000 from Fahmi International for releasing the stranded workers.

Tenaganita, a migrants’ rights body in Malaysia, lodged a complaint with Malaysian human rights commission Suhakam on April 1, seeking justice for the stranded workers, reports Malaysian online newspaper Malaysiakini.

In the complaint, Tenaganita Director Irene Fernandez said, “The workers are unlawfully detained. It is the failure of the employing company in fulfilling the agreement. Why has the Immigration Department failed in their responsibility? The department has violated the rights of the workers.”

According to the complaint, Malaysian home ministry approved Network Esquire’s application for hiring 1,100 workers from Bangladesh although it has no physical infrastructure to employ them.

“What investigations and what type of verifications were done by the Home Ministry when Network Esquire only has an office and address in Kuala Lumpur without any plantation [where it pledged to employ the workers]?” said Fernandez.

Network Esquire applied to hire workers “to make profit, not to provide jobs”, she said, blaming the Immigration Department for not taking any action against the employing company.

Zahir Hussein, a representative of Fahmi International, who was present at Suhakam when Tenaganita lodged the complaint, said a Network Esquire official named Nazri confirmed on February 1 that they would receive the workers but they did not do so as of now.

“We want compensation from Network Esquire and Malaysia government for the sufferings of the workers and their family members in Bangladesh,” said Zahir.

Source: The Daily Star, 04 April 2009


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