5 February 2021
An international non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has described as “nothing new” an allegation of a policeman forcing a returning worker to pay a bribe even though he had valid travel papers.
Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) claimed what happened was nothing new and the organisation had received countless similar reports from Bangladeshi workers.
The NGO urged the Malaysian police to help stop this sort of harassment of Bangladeshi workers, adding that it would send an official complaint to the High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
Shariful Hasan, BRAC head of the migration programme, said police should probe the claim without fear or favour.
“A Bangladeshi who had all the valid documents to return to the country, who also had the Covid-19 negative certificate, had to pay a bribe or he would have missed the flight home,” he said in an email response to an FMT report on the incident today.
FMT had reported earlier that police were investigating a video recording by a taxi driver alleging bribery near KLIA that went viral on WhatsApp.
The video, first circulated on Wednesday, was filmed by an unnamed taxi driver speaking in Tamil about policemen demanding a bribe from a Bangladeshi passenger on his way to his home country after months of unemployment here.
The taxi driver claimed policemen stopped the vehicle at a roadblock and the passenger showed them his documents, which were all in order.
The officer, however, told the passenger he had to pay a RM1,000 fine as he was crossing the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor border. The driver himself was let off. The taxi driver claimed the passenger was taken a distance away and forced to pay RM100.
Shariful alleged that BRAC had received many reports of Bangladeshis being harassed and forced to offer bribes, with or without reasons. He said police in Malaysia felt Bangladeshis were easy to expolit.
“I have also heard that when a Bangladeshi’s work permit expires, they are forced to give bribes when stopped by police. Police also have a negative attitude towards Bangladeshis.”
Shariful claimed Bangladeshis were often isolated and interrogated upon arrival at KLIA and also mistreated at detention centres.
He urged the authorities to stop this practice as most Bangladeshis in the country worked hard to send money home to their poor families.