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Saturday, May 16, 2015, Jaishtha 2, 1422 BS, Rajab 26, 1436 Hijr

BD-Malaysia Talks Begin Today
'Slave trade', migration, high on agenda
Diplomatic Correspondent
Published : Saturday, 16 May, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 140

The alleged slave trade, human trafficking and migration issues to figure high in the Bangladesh-Malaysia ministerial level dialogue beginning today (Saturday) in Malaysia.
The two-day Fourth Bangladesh-Malaysia Joint Commission meeting will be held at Kotakinabalu in Saba province of Malaysia after 10 years of interval.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali reached Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning and will lead his delegation in the talks with his Malaysian counterpart Dato' Sri Anifah Aman.
Sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that alleged slave trade in Malaysia that hit newspapers recently, ongoing crisis of human trafficking, illegal migration and issues of migrant workers will top list of the agenda.
According to the sources, issues relating to the bilateral interest including continuation of visa relaxation and economic and trade cooperation will be discussed atthe meeting.
Ways to end inhumane slave trade through sea route is expected to get more importance in the bilateral meeting, a MoFA official said.
However, the official understands the detail of human trafficking and illegal migration, as another regional meet on migrant crisis hosted by Thailand will be held by end of this month.
The meeting will mainly focus on increasing trade and investment apart from bilateral issues. The foreign ministry will lead the meeting, where ministries of expatriates welfare and commerce will also join.
Malaysia is expected to raise the issue for signing free trade agreement (FTA) and investment in energy, real estate and crude-oil handling, while Bangladesh to focus on migration, education, tourism and infrastructure development.
Sources said the Bangladesh officials have not studied much about the Malaysian entrepreneurs' plan to invest in the country. It seems Bangladesh is undecided to sign FTA since mobility of people is not included in it, the official said.
The Commerce Ministry has briefed the MoFA that the country was not yet prepared for the deal, as it would not be a win-win for both the countries. The Commerce Ministry is conducting a study to understand the investment plan.
Under a government-to-government arrangement between Bangladesh and Malaysia made in 2012, around 50,000 labourers are supposed to get jobs in Malaysia every year. The official record shows that an estimated 9,000 people could be sent there under the arrangement.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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