The workers enter the country on student visas under the pretence of learning English, a news report and an official said on Monday.

 

The New Straits Times quoted Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, the home affairs minister as saying on Sunday that the Bangladeshis come as students, only to work in low-paid menial jobs in the country. Rising economic prosperity has provided many Malaysians with white-collar jobs and low-paid positions are hard to fill.

 

Saiful Islam, a spokesman for Radzi, said Bangladeshi workers were banned from Malaysia two years ago, mainly because they were creating "social problems" by entering into romantic liaisons with local women.

 

He told The Associated Press that they were found to have harassed young women and eloped with married women, who apparently succumbed to their good looks and charms.

 

Movie star looks

 

Bangladeshi men are said to look
like Indian movie stars (above)

On Sunday, Radzi said Bangladeshi men look like Indian movie stars.

 

Most of the men, aged between 25 and 30, were recorded as studying English, he said.

 

"This is really fishy. The age bracket is suitable for employment. Bangladesh is an English-speaking country and it makes little sense for them to study English here.

 

"The abuse is glaring because Bangladeshis are not allowed to work here, but we can see hundreds working in construction sites and restaurants."

 

Radzi said most were brought by agents who made deals with colleges to bring in the workers as students, then place them for employment. He said his ministry was taking the necessary action to curb the practice.

 

Intolerance

 

He said: "I can assure you there are thousands of them. Of course, Malaysia is striving to be an education hub but abuse of provisions is something that cannot he tolerated."

 

The newspaper quoted Radzi as saying that at least two private colleges had enrolled more than 300 Bangladeshi nationals each, comprising more than half their international student body.

 

Malaysia allows foreign workers from only a few countries, including Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.