Print Edition - 2015-01-29 | Nation
Employment in Malaysia
- CA panel instruction to halt biometric screening
Jan 28, 2015-
The Parliamentary Committee for International Relations and Labour on Wednesday directed the government to scrap the registration and suspend operation of medical clinics providing biometric health screening to Nepali going to Malaysia.
The committee also directed concerned authorities to take action against 39 medical agencies providing new health facilities without government’s permission.
On January 15, Malaysia introduced the biometric screening in Nepal and Bangladesh as a part of a plan to extend the controversial system in 14 countries.
Committee chairman Prabhu Sah said the Labour Ministry has been instructed to immediately suspend the system. “There has been entry of various new systems to increase the recruitment cost of migrant workers. The government should stop its entry and take action against companies providing service without accreditation. This is not acceptable when Nepali workers are already under pressure to pay high recruitment cost,” Sah said.
Last month, the committee had also directed to scrap the registration and suspend daily operations of Malaysia VLN Nepal, a private firm providing visa processing at the Malaysian embassy in Nepal, citing irregularities while obtaining the licence. The company, however, still provides service.
Biometric screening--a fingerprint scanning system with security features to match an individual’s identity with the data recorded in the passport--- has been widely criticised in Malaysia and Nepal, partly due to the shady deal in the selection of service provider, its cost and other security factors.
Malaysian newspapers claim that Bestinet Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia based IT firm owned by powerful people including a former minister, was accredited to provide service without due bidding process. A group of Malaysian leaders are campaigning against the system raising concern over the possible misuse of data and corruption involved in the selection process.
Neither the Malaysian government nor the medical centres providing service has taken permission despite introducing the system. Sources at the Labour Ministry claim that State Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung and few others have extended silent support to the system.
Last week, Gurung had told the Post that discussions were underway to allow biometric system in the country as the Malaysian government is ready to address its cost, security and other concerns.
A majority of foreign employment agencies and health professionals have stood against the system, citing that it will raise financial burden upon workers and impose a syndicate culture.
The new system will remove nearly 70 percent of 284 medical companies authorised to provide health check-up facilities out of business. The companies say they cannot take the accreditation since the cost ($8,000) to install the software is expensive.
Kailash Khadka, chairman of Foreign Employment Medical Association, said most of the 39 medical centres were already providing the service and preparations were underway to accredit additional medical centres.
“We are also in favour of accrediting the new system to other medical centres,” said Khadka, whose two medical centres are accredited.
The Nepali embassy in Kuala Lumpur said that the government has spent $170 million to hire a company to expand the software. Malaysian government say the new system would end the current situation where nearly two-thirds of the migrant workers return home failing the medical test.
Published: 29-01-2015 08:53