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Concern over maid’s death

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua and rights groups are investigating the death of a teenage Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, amid allegations she was abused by her employer.

Concerns over the girl’s death were raised after the news-agg-regating website Khmerization received an email from a person identified as Yip Soon Yew, who alleged Khor Phaik, a 15-year-old maid brought to Malaysia by a company called TSE, had been found dead on July 17.

Seng Sithichey, the director of recruitment firm AP TSE & C Cambodia Resources Co, said yesterday one of its dom-estic workers had died on that date, but could not confirm her name.

Yip Soon Yew claimed people in the maid’s neighbourhood in Penang had seen her being “beaten up” and “abused”.

A day before her death, she allegedly passed on a note asking that if she died for no valid reason, her uncle in Cambodia be contacted, the writer added.

Seng Sithichey, however, disputed the worker’s age, saying she was 21. He said the comp-any had received a medical certificate showing she had died from pneumonia.

“We co-operated with the police and health officials to check what happened to her,’’ Seng Sithichey said.

“I have to find justice for my worker if she died because of her employer, but she died because of disease.”

The woman’s family had been notified, as had the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seng Sithichey said. The family had not filed a complaint, he said.

Mu Sochua, of the Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday Khmerization had previously reported the abuse of a domestic worker in Malaysia that had turned out to be true.

She vowed to investigate Khor Phaik’s case with Malaysian government officials and rights groups, saying:  “It is of grave concern to me.”

Huy Pich Sovann, an officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he was also investigating the case and mechanisms needed to be put in place to stop the systematic abuse of Cambodian dom-estic workers in Malaysia.

Aegile Fernandez, of the Malaysian rights group Tenaganita, said Ung Vantha, a Cambodian embassy official in Malaysia, had mentioned the case but not given details.

Ung Vantha and other offic-ials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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