Shrestha For Closing Malaysia If Worker Conditions Unchanged
KATHMANDU, April 17: Former Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha has urged the government to stop sending Nepali workers to Malaysia if their problems in Malaysia are not addressed within the next two months.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha, who recently visited Malaysia and interacted with Nepali migrant workers there, also urged the government to take diplomatic initiatives to ink Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia to save Nepali migrant workers from various forms of exploitation while working in Malaysia.
“Unscrupulous manpower agencies are found to have been charging Nepali migrant workers more than double the cost fixed by the government. The two government need to ink MoU to ensure there is no additional cost to go to Malaysia for work,” he said.
Speaking to a group of journalists at his residence on Thursday, Shrestha said he could see for himself various forms of exploitation of Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia, including torture carried out by local police officers, seizure of passport and poor hygiene condition in their hostel. He said that many Nepali migrant workers are forced to eat beef and are subjected to extreme physical and mental tortures.
Although Shrestha, who is vice chairman of the main opposition party, UCPN (Maoist), had traveled to attend a function organized by the party’s sister organization, he had taken that opportunity not only to see the condition of Nepali migrant workers but also hold meeting with Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Haji Wan Junaidi, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Datuk Dr Haji Wan Junaidi Taunku Jaafar and various leaders of ruling parties. He had also visited Bukit Jalil, which is used as detention center by Malaysian authorities, to learn about the situation of Nepali workers.
Shrestha said Nepali workers put in detention centers were not only denied the ability to contact their families at home but also denied access to basic health treatment. Likewise, seizure of passport of Nepali workers by their company owners had made them more vulnerable to exploitation. “This goes against their basic human rights. This practice has to stop on the part of Malaysian authorities,” he further said.
After his return from Malayasia, Shrestha held meeting with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary, Labor Minister, Labor Secretary and Acting Ambassador of Malaysia to Nepal, to find ways to address the plight of Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia. “We have reached to an understanding to immediately take some measures to address the problems of Nepali workers during my meeting with the ministers and secretaries from Foreign Ministry and Labor Ministry. The prime minister has also assured he will take some concrete measures on this,” he said.
Among other things, there has been an understanding to immediately pursue diplomatic efforts to reach an MoU with Malaysia on the plight of Nepali workers, take concrete measures to penalize the manpower agencies charging exorbitantly high recruitment fees to workers and to stop sending Nepali workers to Malaysia if the problems are not addressed. “We have also reached an understanding to put manpower agencies involved in exploiting Nepali workers on a black list, eventually scrapping their operating license,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference, Shrestha also urged the government to request the Malaysian government to withdraw visa outsourcing work that has added to the financial burden of poor Nepali migrant workers. Each Nepali migrant worker need to pay additional Rs 3,200 as visa outsourcing charge.
Published on: 6 Apr 2015 | 21:22pm, My Republica