India has signed a bilateral labour mobility agreement with Malaysia after nearly two years of negotiation even as Kuala Lumpur made it clear that it was aiming to cut down the number of migrant workers in that country from the existing over 2.2 million to 1.8 million.
The MoU,signed by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Malaysian Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam,would enable orderly recruitment for workers to get employment in each others countries and lays down the procedures for monitoring recruiting agents and employers. While Ravi dubbed the agreement as a major milestone in relations between the two countries,Subramaniam said foreign workers constitute nearly 27 per cent of Malaysias work force and the country was working to reduce this.
It is a very high number (foreign workers) as outsiders constitute around 27 per cent of the nations total work force. We would like bring it down to the level of 1.5 million by this year, the minister said.
He said Malaysia does not need fresh work force from outside and clarified that the agreement with India is aimed at enhancing legal frameworks for the existing workers. Indians constitute about 1.5 lakh of Malaysias total workforce of about 12 million and most of them work in the service sector and plantation-based industries.
With the agreement,both countries hope to reduce the activities of unscrupulous recruitment agents and improve the conditions of the existing workers in both the countries.