Bangladeshi, Pak workers in Malaysia with Nepal passports
KATHMANDU, Aug 23: In a startling revelation, a high-level probe into jobs in Malaysia has found a large number of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis working in the security sector there--an exclusively preserve of Nepali citizens-- through the use of hand-written Nepali passports that have been tampered with.
Worse still, the probe team reckons that multiple groups, including Nepali manpower agencies, Nepali agents in Malaysia, workers themselves and human resource (HR) managers of employer companies, were jointly operating a racket selling the ´photo-altered´ passports of Nepalis to Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers for a huge ´fee´.
These passsports enable them to land jobs in the security sector that provides lucrative salaries in this second biggest destination country for Nepali workers.
The probe team comprising high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) and a representative of Nepali manpower agents recently completed a week-long visit to Malaysia.
“It is a serious matter that a growing number of Nepali hand-written passports fall into the hands of foreign job seekers, especially Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. This could pose a security threat both in Malaysia and Nepal if the passports are used for criminal purposes,” a member of the team told Republica.
The team member said Nepal will incur a heavy cost in lost job opportunities in Malaysia if the trend remains unchecked. “The government has to give high priority to converting existing hand-written passports into MRP to end the risk of passport misuse,” said the member.
“A growing number of Nepali passports are being sold to Bangladesh and Pakistani workers who offer up to Rs 300,000 per passport to land jobs in the security sector, which is more lucrative than other jobs in Malaysia,” Kumud Khanal, vice-president of Nepalese Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA), told Republica on Wednesday.
Around 60,000 Nepalis are employed as security guards in Malaysia, which has received some 773, 940 Nepali works by the end of fiscal year 2011/12. The Malaysian government has approved a job quota of 10,000 in the security sector for Nepali youths this year.
Khanal said the passport misuse will harm the reputation of Nepalis in the Malaysian job market if the passport users become involved in heinous crimes.
“Foreign workers (Pakistanis, Bangladesh) are buying Nepali passports to work at security agencies. This trend not only puts at risk our exclusive privilege in the security sector but poses a serious risk of the passports landing in the hands of criminals,” said Khanal.
There is no exact data on how many Nepali handwritten passports are sold in Malaysia to workers from the two south Asian countries after altering the photos.
Recently, Datuk Shaheen Mirza Habib of Security Service Association of Malaysia- an umbrella organization of Malaysian security agencies- voiced serious concern over the growing incidence of Nepali passport misuse.
Khanal, who has been supplying workers to Malaysia, also opined that the government has to encourage passport holders to converts their handwritten documents into MRP so that the still widely used manual passports do not end up in the wrong hands.
He said the government has to immediately set a timeline to convert all handwritten passport into MRP and mobilize all its agencies, including Nepali missions abroad, for this purpose.