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Migrant rights groups against Malaysian levy



KATHMANDU: Migrant rights groups have criticised the Malaysian government’s decision to deduct levy from the salary of migrant workers. The Malaysian cabinet took the decision to deduct levy money from the salary of foreign workers on January 31.

According to the decision, migrant workers must pay Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) 154 ($50) a month. “Nepali workers will also be affected by the decision,” said president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Bal Bahadur Tamang. Their earnings will reduce significantly, he added.

Malaysia had hiked the minimum wage of workers from MYR 546 (Rs 15,000) to MYR 900 (Rs 24,700) last month. But the wage hike will not benefit migrant workers, including Nepali migrants, because the Malaysian government has decided to cut levy from workers’ salaries.

Earlier, the levy was collected from employers. After the decision, about Rs 4,500 of a Nepali migrant worker’s earnings will go to Malaysia, said Tamang.

About 400,000 Nepalis are believed to be working in Malaysia and most of them are involved in the manufacturing, service and security sectors.

Migrant rights group, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, has started a campaign against it. “We are seeking support for our drive,” said an activist of the organisation Charles Hector.

International Domestic Workers Network has been supporting it, according to the coordinator of the network Elizabeth Tang. The movement started from today, she added.

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