Nepal | November 14, 2019

Nepal, Malaysia to sign MoU on labour pact

Umesh Poudel

Kathmandu, October 26

After holding numerous discussions with the Malaysian government and doing a lot of homework over the months, the government has finally fixed the date to ink the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a labour agreement with the South East Asian nation on Monday.

The much awaited bilateral labour pact is to be signed when a six-member team led by Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran arrive in Kathmandu. The delegation is expected to arrive on Sunday.

“Both the governments have fixed the agendas to be discussed when signing the bilateral pact,” said Narayan Regmi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS).

The ministry decided to sign the MoU on Monday after holding discussions on the issue with other concerned government officials and Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista.

However, in a recent development Malaysia announced that it will not recruit migrant workers through recruiting agencies in the near future. Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, on October 24, had stated that the system of recruiting foreign workers through agents or companies will soon be abolished.

Earlier, the Nepali and Malaysian governments had discussed about hiring and supplying Nepali migrant workers through business to business model under which the private sector of the two countries will engage in hiring and supplying
Nepali workers to Malaysia.

“Previously, we had held discussions on supplying labour through government to government model but the Malaysian government was not very receptive about that proposal,” informed Regmi. “The recent statement made by the Malaysian home minister is a positive development for Nepal as we will be able to assure better facilities while sending migrants through government to government model.”

Regmi also informed that discussions will be held with the Malaysian delegation on Sunday itself and necessary amendments will be made before MoU is signed on Monday.

The supply of Nepali workers to Malaysia has been halted since May after the Nepal government cracked down on Immigration Security Clearance and One Stop Centre that had been levying additional charges on Nepali migrant workers. The valid visa fee for Malaysia is Rs 700. However, Nepali migrants were paying in excess of Rs 17,000 in the name of visa processing.

Following the long halt in supply of Nepali workers to Malaysia, the two governments had geared up to sign an MoU on labour issues. The agreement will ensure that Nepali workers are paid better in Malaysia, treated fairly by employers, receive insurance and compensation from the employing firms in case of accidents during work, among others.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian employers will also have to ensure free visa and free ticket to Nepali workers, as mentioned in the draft MoU.

“After signing the MoU, both the governments will form a joint technical team for further discussions to fix other technical and managerial issues of labour pact,” Regmi added. “So, it might take a couple of weeks more before Nepali migrants can go to Malaysia for employment.”

A version of this article appears in print on October 27, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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