KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — DAP Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng has urged the government to amend the law to enable only one ministry to be placed in charge of migrant workers.

He said the more bureaucracy there is, inevitably, there will be more opportunities for corruption.

“It is about time the government heed the advice to amend the law to enable one single ministry instead of multi-ministries to be in charge of the applications, vetting, processing and renewing the necessary documents for foreign workers.

“The plight of over 1,000 undocumented Bangladeshis in Malaysian prison calls for the need to streamline the processing of foreign workers’ applications,” Lim said in a statement here.

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His call came after the Bangladeshi MP Tanvir Shakil Joy’s recent statement on stranded Bangladeshi citizens who have arrived in Malaysia but are jailed due to their undocumented statuses.

Currently, both the Home and Human Resource Ministries handle matters involving migrant workers.

“As a member of parliament, I am equally and deeply grieved over the plight of these Bangladeshi citizens and their families in Bangladesh, many of whom have been scammed, exploited and extorted in hoping to work in Malaysia.

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“Many of them have sold their properties in order to pay their way here, but they ended up being placed behind bars for crimes they did not commit.

“These Bangladeshis come to Malaysia hoping to get unattractive lowly-paid menial work often labelled ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’ (3D) that very few Malaysians are willing to do,” Lim said.

In addition, he echoed many others who have raised the matter, seeking an explanation from the government on how the undocumented migrants made it onto Malaysian soil without the knowledge of the authorities, especially the Immigration Department.

“There must be some loophole and corruption involved, and the culprits that brought them here or facilitated their entry must, therefore, face the full wrath of the law.

“Furthermore, unless they were involved in criminal activities, these Bangladeshis who have become victims of injustice should be allowed to apply for job vacancies in the country instead of bringing in new workers. Placing them behind bars will only put a strain on our prison resources,” Lim said.

The most recent incident of such would be the over 100 Bangladeshi migrants who arrived in Malaysia last November, and are still jobless.

Migrant labour rights activist Andy Hall, was quoted saying that the workers had paid recruitment fees of between RM19,500 and RM21,700 to secure employment in Malaysia, where they were promised good living facilities and high-paying jobs.