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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia MoU expands beyond domestic work

Labour Minister Ith Samheng (centre right) talks with Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Sri Hasan Malek (centre left) yesterday at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Labour Minister Ith Samheng (centre right) talks with Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Sri Hasan Malek (centre left) yesterday at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Malaysia MoU expands beyond domestic work

Labour Minister Ith Samheng and Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Dato’ Sri Hasan Malek yesterday announced that three more categories of workers are being added to a December agreement to send domestic workers to Malaysia.

Under the revised memorandum of understanding (MoU), Malaysia will now also be able to recruit factory, construction and plantation workers.

The announcement comes just four months after Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested that his Malay counterpart, Najib Razak, be open to taking more Cambodian workers.

At yesterday’s meeting, Samheng and Hasan Malek also urged the technical group working to implement the MoU to speed up its work. “Both sides urged the technical group to finish the procedures to insert control mechanisms for workers who work in Malaysia in order to start implementing the MoU,” Samheng said.

In December, both countries signed the MoU, which lifted a 2011 ban on sending maids to Malaysia amid reports of severe abuses of migrant workers, some of which lead to deaths. Both countries have repeatedly declined to provide a copy of the MoU to the Post.

Moeun Tola, executive director for labour rights group Central, said his organisation still had concerns about how effective the MoU would be to protect Cambodian workers.

“There are still workers working as maids in Malaysia and they are still becoming victims of human rights [violations].”

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