Ahmad Zahid-linked company named in Nepali migrant worker ‘scam’

PETALING JAYA: A firm linked to former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been accused of looting more than Rs5 billion (RM185 million) from Nepali migrant workers seeking work in Malaysia over the past five years.

Nepal's Labour Minister Gokarna Bista is reportedly trying to dismantle the scheme by cracking down on several Kathmandu-based companies set up to extort fees from overseas contract workers

Nepali Times today named the firm in question as Bestinet Sdn Bhd, which previously listed former home minister Tan Sri Azmi Khalid as a director.

The scam involved powerful Malaysian businesses with close links to ministers and officials in the Barisan Nasional coalition of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and implemented by their agents in Kathmandu who had contacts with influential politicians and bureaucrats in Nepal, the report said.

"The real scam involved the lack of transparency in Malaysia and in Nepal on the choice of the private companies hired to facilitate this process, which ended up fleecing workers," it alleged.

"While in Malaysia the companies were partly-owned by relatives of politicians, in Nepal bureaucrats and politicians benefited from kickbacks for sanctioning the new system. Fees were added on arbitrarily, and all involved in the syndicate in the two countries divided up the profits."

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