Dhaka, July 07: Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen today said Malaysia expects to reopen its door to fresh Bangladeshi manpower from August while Kuala Lumpur is trying to convince Myanmar to start Rohingya repatriation as quickly as possible.“They (Malaysia) are preparing a comprehensive understanding to recruit fresh Bangladeshi manpower in the future .. .. they hope to reopen it (recruitment) for Bangladeshi workers from next August,” he told reporters after holding bilateral meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah at State Guest House Padma here this evening, BSS reports.
During the meeting, Momen said they discussed many bilateral matters but Rohingya and manpower issues got most importance.
“We told them (Malaysia) to convince Myanmar as both of them belong to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)” he said adding that “Malaysia is working for Bangladesh over Rohingya issue as they do agree with us that Rohingyas must go back to their motherland.”
Momen said Bangladesh cordially invited Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad to visit Bangladesh soon.
“They (Malaysia) said there are huge possibilities that Mahathir will visit Bangladesh soon …. we are hopeful,” he said adding that Mahathir may visit Bangladesh by the end of this year or the first quarter of next year.
Momen said they also discussed about possibilities to sign a free trade agreement between Bangladesh and Malaysia for further enhancing trade relations between the two nations.
About today’s meeting, the Malaysian foreign minister said he exchanged notes with his Bangladeshi counterpart to express Malaysian stand in the context of ASEAN over Rohingya repatriation.
“We both agree that (Rohingya) repatriation must occur as quickly as possible,” he said.
Clarifying that Malaysia is trying its level best to convince Myanmar, the Malaysian foreign minister said “We are hoping that before the end of this year there will be a proper and comprehensive plan for (Rohingya) repatriation,” he said.
The Malaysian foreign minister, who is now on his first trip to Bangladesh since assuming his office last year, visited the Malaysian field hospital and several Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar today.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, termed as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN.