• Sunday, Apr 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:16 am

Malaysian firm charters flight for Bangladeshi workers amid labour crunch

  • Published at 07:19 pm April 8th, 2021
Migrant workers at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport <strong>Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune</strong>
File photo of migrant workers at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Over 100 workers return as part of scheme to overcome manpower shortage caused by the pandemic

Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation on Thursday brought back over 100 migrant workers from Bangladesh as part of a pilot scheme to overcome labour shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a freeze on recruitment of new foreign workers. 

Sime Darby told Reuters in an email that the scheme was being “conducted in collaboration with the Malaysian government to put return-to-work plans in motion in a controlled and safe manner.”

Malaysia relies on some 2 million documented foreign workers - mainly from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal - to work in factory and plantation jobs which are shunned by locals who regard them as dirty, dangerous and difficult.

Many companies have faced labour shortage, however as a result of border closures a year ago to stem the spread of the coronavirus and a ban since the middle of last year on hiring new foreign labour in order to protect jobs for Malaysians.

Sime Darby, world’s largest palm oil producer by land size, said it had chartered a flight to bring back 123 Bangladeshi employees who went to home before the pandemic and were unable to return to Malaysia when borders closed.

All Covid-19 procedures, including a seven-day quarantine, were followed to ensure workers return to work safely, the company said, adding that it was bearing all the costs.

The Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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