We have been trying to enforce a labour agreement ensuring job security

Kathmandu, 26 December

The Malaysian government has, after all this time, finally agreed to send a delegation to Nepal to hold talks on addressing the numerous problems Nepali migrants face.

Niranjan Man Basnet, ambassador of Nepal to Malaysia informed THT over a phone interview that the Malaysian Ministry for Human Resources had reached a decision to send joint secretary-level delegates to Kathmandu during the second week of February to hold dialogue on the matter.

The government of Nepal in recent times has declared it mandatory for all existing manpower companies to charge only Rs 10,000 instead of the exorbitant sum of Rs 160,000.

“For over a decade, we have been trying to enforce a labour agreement ensuring job security and other welfare schemes for Nepali migrant workers, but to no avail,” Basnet said. He also informed that the Malaysian government had previously sent a draft of labor agreement which encapsulated only minor changes.

The new agreement however states that the Malaysian employers are now required to receive Nepali workers within six hours, instead of the former 24-hour deadline.

A typical Nepali migrant worker at present still lacks 24-hour life insurance coverage crucial for the well-being of the employee. Ambassador Basnet has opined that the new agreement still fails to cover grounds on several issues and needs to be further amended.

The government of Nepal is now lobbying to increase the stipulated compensation amount in cases of death of Nepali labourers, from 23,000 Malaysian Ringgit to 100,000 Ringgit.

The Malaysian government has long been reluctant to fulfill these issues said Basnet.

It is certainly high time for the government of Nepal to take4 action against the agencies who have long been exploiting potential Nepali migrant workers while they wait for their applications to be processed.

Basnet went as far as to highlight the fact that the Malaysian recruiting system could not be abolished as many of the manpower agencies have been known to have close links with government bureaucrats.

Although Malaysia has such MoUs with Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam to regulate recruitment processes and procedures, Nepal continues to wait.