Friday, 17 September, 2021
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EDITORIAL

Vital Labour Pact



Nepal and Malaysia have agreed to resume the process of supplying Nepali migrant workers to the Southeast Asian nation. The process was stalled for past 15 months. Since May last year, no Nepali workers have entered Malaysia for employment. It is noteworthy that Malaysia was one of the preferred labour destinations for Nepali workers before the Government of Nepal stopped sending its citizens to this country. Officials from the two countries signed a 10-point deal to resume the labour supply upon the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. It may be recalled here that the Government of Nepal had imposed the ban after Malaysia-bound workers were found being forced to pay hefty amounts of money illegally for a Kathamndu-based private Malaysian firm. Despite facing lots of criticisms from different sections, including manpower agencies, incumbent Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista had not budged from his stance since many provisions introduced by the Government of Malaysia were not in the interest of the Nepali workers. The process did not reopen even after the two governments inked a labour pact in October last year because some contesting issues such as medical test of workers were not settled.

As per the fresh deal, all costs required to recruit Nepali migrant workers will be borne by the employers. This means that the job aspirants will not have to pay any charge. The employers will provide the Nepali migrant workers with a two-way air ticket besides covering visa surcharge, medical check-up costs and security charge. In the past, all those costs used to be charged from the workers. In addition, the deal also includes permission for the workers to return home for a period of 15 days in case of the demise of his/her close family member (father, mother, husband or wife, son or daughter). Another significant facility is that the Nepali workers will enjoy the accident insurance and health insurance applicable in line with Malaysia’s laws in the case of workers in their workplace. According to the new provision, the employer is required to inform the Nepali Embassy based in Malaysia in case of injury, mutilation or death of the worker in course of foreign employment. The employer will also have to repatriate the body of the worker to Nepal.

The pact requires the Government of Malaysia to provide the same level of protection to the Nepali workers as it provides it to the workers from other countries. The contract period for Nepali workers has been lowered to two years from three years. However, there is a mandatory provision in the deal that the employers will have to deposit the remuneration of the workers in the latter’s bank account within the 7th day of every month. The new provision has also ensured salary, allowance and other facilities to Nepali workers in line with the workers from other nations. With all these provisions, Malaysia will be more lucrative labour destination for Nepal in the days ahead.