Nepal‚ Malaysia discuss labour issues, agree to seal labour deal
Malaysia has asked Nepal to send domestic workers.
Malaysian minister for human resources Datuk Richard Riot Jaem – during the talks with state minister for labour and employment Tek Bahadur Gurung – here today has asked to send domestic workers to Malaysia.
Jaem arrived Kathmandu on yesterday on a two-day official visit.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, state minister Gurung said he had asked the Malaysian minister to create an environment in Malaysia to take Nepali workers as 'house managers' instead of 'housemaids'.
They also agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to send domestic and general workers. A joint secretary-level task force will be formed to draft the memorandum of understanding, he said, adding that the task force will prepare a MoU for the Employment Contract within two months. The draft will be finalised after state minister's Malaysia visit.
Both the countries will agree before signing the employment contract, Gurung added.
The signing of the MoU on domestic workers will open the door for Nepali migrant workers to find employment as domestic workers in Malaysia which has so far been hosting Nepali migrants only in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Likewise, Nepal and Malaysia have agreed to form a joint committee to finalise the draft of Labour Agreement between the two countries, which, once enforced, would help protect the rights of Nepalis working in the southeast Asian country. The agreement will address overall issues of labourers, including minimum pay, provisions for insurance and other welfare issues.
Nepal has long been pushing Malaysia to seal the labour deal because the southeast Asian country is the largest foreign employment destination for Nepali workers and the agreement would legally protect rights of Nepalis.
Nepal and Malaysia have not yet signed labour pact though the two governments first exchanged the draft in 2011. Nepal had sent a preliminary draft on Labour Agreement to Malaysia last June for the third time.
Likewise, the hosts asked visiting Malaysian minister 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.
Likewise, the guests were also asked to review Biometric system to be implemented as it will add exctra charges to migrant workers.
In response, Jaem lauded Nepali migrant workers as hardworking, friendly and honest, and "therefore, Malaysian government prepared a policy to motivate Nepali workers."
He also stressed that Nepali workers are not discriminated in Malaysia and treated equal to other foreign workers.
There are as many as 500,000 Nepali workers currently working in Malaysia, he said, adding that Malaysia is ready to increase the number of Nepali workers.
During the meeting, both sides also discussions on returning illegal Nepali migrant workers and also those imprisoned in Malaysia. The Nepali side sought the help of Malaysian minister for the safe return of Nepali migrant workers who are illegally staying there as well as amnesty or legal clearance for workers languishing in Malaysian jails to return. The Malaysian minister took it positively and assured his help toward investing and safe return of these Nepali workers through fast track.
Jaem, who is leading the nine-member delegation also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey at their respective offices today before returning.
Jaem also handed over a check of Rs 300,000 to the premier on behalf of Malaysian Airlines and Malaysian nationals staying in Nepal as a contribution to the PM Disaster Relief Fund.