Come tomorrow (Monday), more than 20,000 Bangladeshis are expected to arrive at the KLIA to work in our plantation sector.
They are part of the successful G to G arrangement by Hisham KDN and Subra Human Resource to solve the problem of 'worker shortage' faced by major plantation employers like Felda, Sime Darby, Tabung Haji and others.
Hisham and Subra must be proud for such an arrangement with Dhaka. It reflects how benevolent Malaysia is when attending to the needs of the industry. Furthermore, the kickback from such a deal is not small.
Appointed agents usually charge between RM1,000 and RM1,500 to bring a Bangladeshi to Malaysia but this new batch is free of any agent's reach. However, it is not free because their employers - apart from having to pay the levi and other charges - will surely have to allocate 'some' for those who bring them in.
I was told that a 'token' of RM750 is imposed for each worker. This means 20,000 workers will easily translate to RM15 million the amount of kickback for those involved in the arrangement.
A-aaahhh... general election is coming!
But the key issue here is not the kickback. Its 'so normal' for ministry officials to make money from such a deal. Its a known fact and its not necessary for me to elaborate further.
From tomorrow onwards, more and more Bangladeshis will be brought in to work in the plantation sector, and soon for the manufacturing industry. By end of the year, about 100,000 of them will arrive in Malaysia under the arrangement.
This is what our government is all about. They will take pride in such an arrangement, wanting to be seen as caring enough in fulfilling the needs of the industry. Diplomatically, we look awesome but morally we are doomed as a 'half past six' country for failing to take care of the foreigners who are already here.
I am not sure if KDN sec-gen Datuk Seri Rahim is involved in this but his pledge to be the 'force against human trafficking' is only a dream and empty words. He is too busy to please the minister!
The problem with KDN and other ministries is that, they don't listen to the ground. They love the credit so much for being able to cater to demands of the industry. They couldn't be bothered what will happen to the workers once their contract ends.
There are about 300,000 'stranded' Bangladeshis in the country, with no proper job and contract. Why? Because they are part of the 1,000,000 workers brought in from Bangladesh more than 15 years ago to work in various sectors in Malaysia.
Most of them are now aged 45 and above, some hiding in remote areas because their visa, permit and passport are no longer valid. Their High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is having a big problem to identify, register and help them go home.
But they refuse to leave Malaysia as they don't have anything left in their country to survive on. Before they left about 15 years ago, they had sold off their land and house to raise about RM30,000 (each) needed as the 'passport' to come to Malaysia.
Since it is not our policy to grant them with PR status, we simply leave them to rot, here in Malaysia! The 6P program which ended on July 31, 2012 was a total failure.
The company NERS which was appointed by the government to supply all the 'latest gadgets' for the program was treated as a king for the business. Deputy PM Muhyiddin (whether he admits 6P is a failure or not) should take a look again at the system because it contains a lot of flaws.
Even most of the 6P data collected during the 'over zealous' implementation period didnt find its way to the Immigration Dept and that cause a lot of problems, not only to foreign workers who took part in the exercise but also to employers and the government agencies.
The failure of the 6P has also opened the floodgate to graft and cheat. Some irresponsible people and companies took advantage of it by introducing their own set of solution to collect money illegally from the foreign workers.
Graft gets rampant when enforcement officers from the Immigration Office and the police prey on those nabbed at random or during special operation. In many cases, they will free most of those caught once the right free is paid. So, it is not wrong when a politician said recently that graft at the Immigration Dept is from 'head to toe'.
And where do we go from here? Nowhere!
Hisham and his friends will not admit failure in what they had implemented. I think it is not the government policy to admit mistake even though many things went disarray. To them, once a policy is announced and implemented, there wont be any error.
That explains why the Home Ministry refused to listen to others, especially from the market players. The ministry officials will not make way for any fresh and better proposal put forward by the public to help reshape the 6P program, let alone open their door to discussion.
So, welcome to our friends from Bangladesh. Let's see what will happen to them once their contract ends but the usual case is, they come to stay!