Malaysia palm oil looks to Bangladesh for workers

From Khor Reports's Palm Oil Newsletter #6 Jan/Feb 2014

Seeking workers

Bangladesh migrant workers are now available to key Malaysia sectors (including plantations) on a government-to-government or G2G arrangement basis. The employment of Bangladesh workers in Malaysian plantations is not new. It is thought that the very first batch was recruited in the early 1990s by IOI Corp. Application submission have been made by many companies. The G2G method bypasses the current private broker network for migrant workers, hopefully eliminating the so-called unfair broker fees paid by the migrant workers (a worry to anti-“forced labour” campaigners).

However, hirers note that the G2G method isn't exactly a cheap process. Bangladesh is a possible diversification from the Indonesia worker base, which Malaysia has become startlingly reliant upon.
Plantations have put in the numbers sought; for now the larger ones seem to apply for 300-500 workers. Some have got the first 40-50 or so workers approved, and early submitters may have some 300 approved each. Questions include: (i) whether the levy goes to the Ministry of Primary Industries and Commodities (ii) whether the G2G arrangement can be extended to Sabah (now only for the Peninsula), (iii) how to accelerate and streamline the approval process, including allowing two or more simultaneous applications (interviews with 6 companies, Dec 2013).

Look out for Khor Reports' Palm Oil Newsletter #6, Jan/Feb 2014! This article is a sneak preview article from this issue (delayed in publication process)