The Political Economy of Malaysia’s Migrant Worker Business

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Four companies. One job. Billions at stake.

Presently, we have a substantial number of migrant workers in the country – 2.1 million registered ones and another two to three million unregistered ones. And an additional 1.5 million from Bangladesh are on the cards.

How migrant workers contribute to the national economy is a matter definitely worth a thorough survey of its own. Here, I would like to discuss the lucrative business of importing foreign workers – what I call “the migrant worker business”, and in that way take issue with the government’s migrant workers policy. While there are many smaller agencies acting as middlemen and service providers, five major players dominate this highly profitable industry.


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