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Nepal, Malaysia agree to sign labour pact

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, KATHMANDU
Nepal, Malaysia agree to sign labour pact

Aug 22, 2014-

Malaysian Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem has requested the Nepal government to allow Nepali housemaid to work in Malaysia.

In a meeting with State Minister for Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung on Thursday, Jaem proposed to sign a separate labour pact to hire domestic workers. The two sides also agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for general workers as ‘soon as possible’.

Jaem arrived in the Capital on Wednesday on a two-day official visit at the invitation of State Minister Gurung.

Nepal and Malaysia have not signed a labour pact though the two governments first exchanged the draft in 2011. Nepal had sent a preliminary draft on labour agreement to Malaysia in June last year--the third proposal in two years. Officials at the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) said the two sides had agreed to form a high-level taskforce to fast track the signing process.

“Malaysia has shown keen interest in hiring the Nepali maids. The two sides have reached an understanding to sign a labour agreement for both domestic workers and general workers,” said Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, MoLE spokesperson, adding that the ministry is also positive on sending the housemaids. The government has currently suspended issuing labour permit to the housemaids.

Ministry sources said the agreement would be signed by the end of this year. The ministry plans to hold prior consultation with other stakeholders before signing the agreement.   

During the meeting, Gurung also asked the Malaysian delegation to release the Nepali workers languishing in Malaysian jails and facilitate in repatriation of those working illegally in there. Malaysia currently hosts around 700,000 Nepali workers out of which around 40,000 are staying illegally, according to the Nepali Embassy in Kaula Lumpur. The Malaysian delegation, however, said that around 434,000 Nepali are working there.

Gurung also urged the visiting delegation to explore ways to cut down higher recruitment fee. Despite the government ceiling of Rs 80,000, agents charge workers a minimum of Rs 125,000 to go to Malaysia. Gurung asked the Malaysian delegation to regulate the local agents and give direct access to Nepali recruiting agencies to Malaysian employers.

Malaysian Minister Jaem said his government wants to hire more Nepali workers in the coming years as they are hard working, friendly and honest among foreign migrant workers in the country, while making commitment to resolve the issues raised by the Nepali side.

 

Published: 22-08-2014 09:24

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