Nepal and Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday under which Nepali workers don’t have to pay a single rupee while going for jobs in Malaysia. This is an important step in facilitating Nepali workers bound to Malaysia for employment as manpower companies in Nepal previously charged as much as two-three lakhs in the name of document and visa processing. We sincerely hope that the two countries will work earnestly to implement the agreement at the earliest.
According to Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources, 358,211 Nepalis are currently working in the country. The MoU will help set up a framework for recruitment, employment and repatriation of workers and for protecting the rights of both workers and employers in Malaysia. Proper insurance, compensation and leave of absence in case of emergency will be ensured under the new framework. The agreement comes nearly two decades after Malaysia first started hiring Nepali workers. More importantly, Nepali workers will be provided with a contract of two years initially and the paper will be in Nepali language. The MoU is in line with the principles set out by the International Labor Organization (ILO). These are all welcome steps.
Nepal government had introduced “free visa, free ticket” for other labor destination countries earlier but the implementation was shaky due to the absence of MoU with those countries. Manpower companies who were sending workers to Malaysia earlier are not happy with the MoU as they said they were not consulted during the process. The government of Nepal should bring in the concerned manpower agencies and consult them in smooth implementation of the MoU with Malaysia. We hope that this agreement will be more than just the agreements.
We also applaud months of hard work in the part of Minister for Labor Gokarna Bista. Despite delays in signing the MoU, Minister Bista has done the right thing. The MoU will serve as a framework for the government to sign similar agreements with other countries. Nepalis working in the Middle East and other countries have endured complex bureaucracies, language barrier and lack of legal support in times of need. It is also the right time for the government to extend support to our embassies in labor destination countries so that Nepalis get the needed consular service on time. This will ensure safety of our brothers and sisters abroad, and it is the least we can do as a country.