Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian and Bangladeshi officials will work together to fingerprint for the first time the estimated 500,000 Bangladeshis working legally and illegally in Malaysia, the home minister said on Wednesday.
It is part of a wider scheme to fingerprint the about two million illegal immigrants in Malaysia, which depends on foreigners from mostly poorer regional countries to fill jobs in construction sites, plantations and other places shunned by locals.
Malaysia announced last week that it will offer amnesty to those who come forward from July 11 for two weeks. Some will be able to keep their jobs, while others will be deported without facing such penalties as caning for overstaying.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Wednesday that Malaysia had struck a separate agreement with Bangladesh`s High Commission to facilitate the registration of their workers, beginning immediately.
Under the deal, government officials may go to factories where Bangladeshis work to register them. The two countries will also share information to crack down on traffickers who exploit Bangladeshi workers.
“The objective is to... ensure that these people are not exploited either by human traffickers, syndicates or third parties,” Hishammuddin said. Malaysia remains on a US human trafficking watch list, according to the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which the State Department released this week.