KATHMANDU, Aug 29: The Labor Agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) between Malaysia and Nepal, which has been stalled for three months, has at last reached its final stage. Although the Malaysian government had been turning down previous attempts by Nepal to table an agreement, it surprisingly sent a draft of the agreement to Nepal two weeks ago.
The Nepal side has returned the draft, agreeing to all its points but making some amendments also. The agreement will be signed after the Malaysian side agrees to the draft returned by Nepal.
According to a source at the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, the agreement is expected to be signed by the two sides this week.
It is indicated in the draft that Malaysia will take in Nepali employees according to the same procedures followed with other countries from where it imports manpower, the source added.
It further claimed that the Malaysian side has forwarded a proposal for Malaysian employers to cover the fees (totalling a hefty Rs 17,000) charged to Nepali employees for various needed services prior to their departure for Malaysia. The proposal was accepted by the Nepal side.
It has also been indicated in the draft of the agreement sent by Malaysia that the minimum remuneration for Nepali employees will be increased from the previous minimum of 900 ringgits (Rs 25,000), excluding housing and food allowance during their stay in Malaysia.
The proposal by Malaysia to receive the employees through a G2G (Government to Government) arrangement was amended by the Nepal side to a B2B (Business to Business) mode, it is also learnt.
Acting Malaysian ambassador to Nepal Ahmad Fadil Ismail said that the process initiated by Malaysia for the recruitment of employees should be given continuity. “We are trying to give continuity to the process used by Malaysia while recruiting manpower from other 14 countries too,” he said, “The soon to be signed agreement is moving forward in a positive way.” He added that it did not matter whether G2G or B2B was used during the recruitment of employees.
The Malysian government had sent the draft of the proposed agreement through Nepal’s ambassador to Malaysia Kumar Raj Kharel after it found that it would take time to send it through their foreign ministry. Malaysia’s minister of human resources will arrive in Kathmandu in a week if Malaysia agrees to the draft returned by Nepal.
According to recent records, Malaysia is the number one destination for Nepali workers seeking foreign employment. According to the department of foreign employment, about 600,000 youths from Nepal are still in Malaysia. It has been estimated that about 15,000 youths lost an opportunity to go to Malaysia for employment during the last three months.
Malaysian employers have been stopping Nepalese employees from returning to Nepal following a labor crisis caused by the three month ban imposed by Nepal on seeking employment in Malaysia.
Kumud Khanal, president of a company that sends youths from Nepal to Malaysia, said, “The delay in the agreement is causing problems not only for those seeking employment but also for those already employed in Malaysia.”