Malaysia returnees face flight crisis as amnesty ends Dec 31

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 00:56, Dec 03,2019


Thousands of Bangladeshi workers intending to return home from Malaysia under that country’s Back-for-Good amnesty programme were facing serious difficulties in getting confirmed return air tickets, said officials.

The‘B4G’ amnesty programme is scheduled to end this December 31.

About 29,000 Bangladeshis have already come back from that country under the amnesty that was effected on August 1 for all expatriate workers having no valid documents, according to Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

The price of the one-way air ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka has multiplied more than six times due to the crisis, they said.

The price of the ticket has now hit 2800 ringgit from 450 ringgit earlier.

As the 31 December amnesty deadline is looming, the Bangladesh mission in Kuala Lumpur has meanwhile requested the Malaysian government to extend the time.

The high commission has also sent a letter to the Bangladesh authorities to increase the frequency of Biman Bangladesh flights on the Kuala Lumpur–Dhaka route and arrange special flights if required.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur Shahidul Islam told New Age that Bangladeshi nationals in Malaysia were responding to the B4G programme in considerable number.

‘Till now 29,000 Bangladeshis have returned home and many more are in the pipeline to go back,’ he added.

To return to Bangladesh under the B4G programme, an applicant needs to have valid travel documents, confirmed air tickets and RM 700 including all other fees.

The applicants coming to the mission for the travel permit are provided with the document within the same day of the application but many of them get into trouble while trying to procure the air ticket due to unavailability of flights.

The Bangladesh ambassador had also meetings with local representatives of airlines in Malaysia but due to an overwhelming number of passengers the air ticket scarcity has emerged as a major problem, he said in the letter to the autorities.

Malaysian home minister Muhyiddin Yassin on July 18 announced the amnesty in order to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in his country.

Malaysia-based social mobiliser and consultant Abu Hayat told New Age that Bangladeshi workers coming back home under the amnesty programme were not getting air tickets due to the crisis.

Due to the ticket crisis, Bangladeshis were queuing up at the Malaysia immigration but failing to return home, he added. 

Some 10 lakh Bangladeshi workers have taken jobs in Malaysia since 1978, according to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training data.

More about:

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email