Global meltdown effect: 300 Bangladeshi workers return from Malaysia

March 13th, 2009 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur, March 13 (IANS) At least 300 Bangladeshi workers returned home from Malaysia after their visas were cancelled citing unemployment caused by global recession, media reports said Friday.
Malaysia had cancelled visas of nearly 55,000 Bangladeshi workers Wednesday. Remittances by workers abroad is the highest foreign exchange earner for Bangladesh after ready made garments.

A flight of the Malaysian Airlines carrying the workers arrived at the Zia International Airport here Thursday night, the Star Online reported.

More workers from different countries, including Singapore and the Maldives, may return home by the end of this month, ATN Bangla TV channel said.

Reposition on manpower export in the face of global recession is one of the promises made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, which had won a massive poll victory last December.

The Malaysian government has justified its action citing unemployment. But the New Straits Times editorially criticized the move as being “unfair” to Bangladesh. “Visas of workers from only Bangladesh had been cancelled,” it said.

Dhaka’s The Daily Star said the situation was “worrisome” and urged the government to do its best to stem the tide of returning workers.

Dhaka’s relations with Malaysia on this front have been uneven.

After a 10-year ban, Malaysia started hiring Bangladeshi workers in August 2006 and had recruited around 400,000 workers since then.

It placed a temporary ban last year after some workers, alleging that they were cheated by touts and Malaysian employers, had staged a sit-in before the Bangladesh high commission in Kuala Lumpur.

They even squatted on the road and one of them caught fever and died.

Media reports quoting official sources have been pessimistic about a change in Malaysia’s decision taken after several weeks of warnings.

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