Sat, Sep 17th, 2011 5:33 pm BdST
Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Dhaka, Sept 17 (bdnews24.com) –About 270,000 illegal Bangladeshi workers have been registered with the Bangladeshi embassy in Kuala Lumpur to get their status right.
Bangladesh high commissioner to Kuala Lumpur AKM Atiqur Rahman told the bdnews24.com on Saturday that the mission officials enlisted them in August as the illegal workers were expecting amnesty from the Malaysian government.
Currently about half a million Bangladeshi workers that include the illegal ones live in Malaysia.
"The Malaysian government will start the amnesty process from next month (October) and they can again work here legally," he said.
The enlistment process began on August 1 and continued till Aug 31 while only 2,000 workers chose to return home.
"They can go back home without facing any fines or imprisonment," the high commissioner said.
Those who will stay will have to submit their passports with the Malaysian government with the appointment letter from their employers to obtain permission to work legally, Atiq said.
Some 23,000 do not have any employers and they would be assigned in different government projects in Malaysia, he said.
CONFUSION OVER CITIZENSHIP
When asked about a media report that the Malaysian government was giving citizenship to Bangladeshis to retain power, the high commissioner said, "I don't have any knowledge about the report."
"I didn't read the report. An hour ago I was told about the report," he said.
When asked how many Bangladeshis got Malaysian citizenship, he said, "I have been working here since 2009 and during this period 10 to 12 Bangladeshis got citizenship."
He said the election date of Malaysia is yet to be decided but it would probably be held next year.
"The citizenship issue is a continuous process and those who are living in Malaysia for long can apply for that," he said.
Citizenship is granted to only professionals and big businessmen, and it is not open to workers, he added.
The Malaysia Chronicle, a newspaper, in a report on Saturday alleged that Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was giving citizenships to foreigners in order 'to retain political power'.
It also said that the official website of a unit in the Bangladesh prime minister's office had confirmed that Bangladesh workers in Malaysia were asked to vote for Najib's BN coalition.
Another news portal, Malaysian Insider, has falsely claimed that 'Bangladesh NGO Bureau' made such appeals to Bangladesh workers.
But no such appeal was found.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.