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Call to protect workers in Malaysia

The government was urged yesterday not to start sending domestic helpers to Malaysia again until it had a Memorandum of Understand with Kuala Lumpur guaranteeing protection of Cambodian migrant workers there.

Ya Navuth, executive director of Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility, also said his NGO welcomed the government’s decision last month to suspend sending domestic helpers to Malaysia following reports of extreme abuse there.

He was speaking at a workshop about building the capacity of institutions to implement a regional agreement to protect migrant workers: the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The declaration, signed by its 10 member states in 2007, called on them to “intensify efforts to protect the fundamental human rights, promote the welfare and uphold human dignity of migrant workers”.

“The government of Cambodia should not send the workers, especially maids, to Malaysia again if we don’t have an MOU or any agreement with each other,” Ya Navuth said.

When Cambodia chairs ASEAN next year, NGOs will push members to protect migrant workers, he said.

Chab Rithy, under secretary of state at the labour ministry, said the government tried hard to protect migrant workers.

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