Bestinet Denies Involvement in Alleged Nepali Workers Scam

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A meeting between Bestinet Sdn Bhd and embassy officials to reverse a decision to bar Nepali workers from coming to Malaysia failed to yield any result.

Denials to Allegations:

  • Involved in foreign worker recruitment industry
  • Collected some RM185 million from over 600,000 workers bound for Malaysia between Sept 2013 to early this year
  • Exploit workers
  • A monopoly over the entire process of recruiting Nepali migrant workers
  • Money laundering activities

Bestinet chief executive officer Ismail Mohd Noor said the company attempted to resolve the matter with embassy officials yesterday.

However, it failed to secure a resolution to the matter.

He added an embassy official informed him that the matter could only be resolved through discussions between the two governments.

“We have explained the role of Bestinet to them and they understood our situation,” he said yesterday after the meeting at the embassy.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

It was reported on July 28 that the Nepal government had barred its workers from coming to Malaysia with immediate effect.

The move was a result of the Nepalese government’s unhappiness with “restrictive” immigration requirements its workers faced before they could be employed in Malaysia.

“The Nepalese government does not understand why the Malaysian Government is allowing a private company to monopolise the recruitment process.

“Our government also feels that the company’s presence is a virtual monopoly as other companies are not allowed to carry out the screening and this contributes to higher cost for the workers,” Nepal embassy labour attache Sanmaya Ramtel was quoted as saying.

In an interview, Chirara Kannan, the owner of a consultancy service for employers, said Nepalese workers had stopped coming to Malaysia because of their government’s stand against the Malaysian Government’s policy which required migrant workers to go through Bestinet, The Star reported.

Meanwhile, Bestinet executive director Datuk Rathakrishnan Vellaisamy denied the company’s involvement in the foreign worker recruitment industry.

He added that it only provides the biometric screening service.

Reportedly, the company’s Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) enables the biometric screening and e-registration of foreign workers to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reported that Bestinet denied claims it had collected some RM185 million from over 600,000 workers bound for Malaysia between September 2013 to early this year.

“We wished we had. Definitely not,” Rathakrishnan was quoted as saying.

Ismail also denied claims that it had a monopoly over the entire process of recruiting Nepali migrant workers.

“I want to stress three major points based on the allegations made against us. One is that we do not exploit (the workers).

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“Second, we are not a monopoly. And third, we bring significant change to the recruitment process which benefits all stakeholders,” Ismail was quoted as saying.

Rathakrishnan said the allegations made against Bestinet were largely due to a “misunderstanding” over its actual role to only provide one service out of the four steps involved in the foreign workers’ recruitment process – biometric health screening.

He confirmed that Bestinet was given an approval to charge RM100 for each worker that went through its biometric health screening service.

Three other companies, meanwhile, were appointed to provide three other steps involved in the process – from security clearance to the processing of the final visa application.

“Bestinet is now accused of controlling the whole thing. These three services are not related to us,” Rathakrishnan was quoted as saying.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

He said that because Bestinet was the first to be in the source countries, all the biometric and visa processes involved was wrongly and falsely attributed to the company.

He further said that its pioneer status in several migrant worker source countries, including Nepal, had also contributed to the misunderstandings.

Bestinet’s legal advisor N Sivananthan denied that the company was involved in alleged money laundering activities via payments transferred from Nepali agents on behalf of the workers.

“When the money is banked into Bestinet’s account, it is RM100 per worker. Of course, if you ask us, ‘the person who banked it in where he got the money from?’ We can’t answer that question.

“All we know RM100 was banked in for one worker. We have accounted for it, we issued an invoice and a receipt […] it is all in the books of our companies.

“It is impossible for Bestinet to verify whether the money banked in for the workers was, in fact, illegal money or otherwise,” Sivananthan was quoted as saying.

As to whether Bestinet would initiate legal action against any of the parties that had raised the allegations, Sivananthan said the matter would only arise if new allegations were made.

“But as for what happened before today, it is a forgive and forget situation.”

Earlier reports:

Jul 28, Kulasegaran Urges Nepal to Reconsider Migrant Worker Ban

Jul 23, Zahid Denies Links to Nepali Workers Scam

Jul 23, Zahid-Linked Company in Alleged RM185M Nepali Worker Scam

Jun 22, Report: Bangladeshi Made RM2B Smuggling 100,000 Countrymen to Malaysia