Outcry over deal for Malaysia to bring in 1.5 million more Bangladeshi workers

CCTV News

A Malaysian woman is silhouetted as she walks past a store at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on February 16, 2016.    AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP / MANAN VATSYAYANA A Malaysian woman is silhouetted as she walks past a store at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on February 16, 2016. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP / MANAN VATSYAYANA

Over the next three years, 1.5 million Bangladesh workers are set to move to Malaysia, despite Malaysia’s slowing economy and tightening job market.

The country’s already home to more than 2 million legal foreign workers, and possibly as many as double that of undocumented ones. CCTV’s Rian Maelzer reports.

Outcry over deal for Malaysia to bring in 1.5 million more Bangladeshi workers

Outcry over deal for Malaysia to bring in 1.5 million more Bangladeshi workers

The country's already home to more than 2 million legal foreign workers, and possibly as many as double that of undocumented ones. CCTV's Rian Maelzer reports.

Around 600,000 Bangladeshis work in Malaysia’s factories and plantations, on construction sites, and increasingly, in the services sector.

The plan to bring in a further 1.5 million was met with opposition from employers’ and workers’ groups, right wing nationalists, left-wing social activists, and ordinary Malaysians.

It has not been pretty, with locals blaming foreign workers for increasing crime rates and spreading disease.

The government said the workers are needed to meet labor shortfalls in several industries, but employers aren’t so sure.

Given the backlash and the slowing economy, the government may never allow in the full 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers. That would be a blow to Bangladeshis pinning their hopes on a better paying job in Malaysia, and to their home country that desperately needs the money they would send back.