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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - "A stitch in time may hire nine"...thousand

"A stitch in time may hire nine"...thousand

"A stitch in time may hire nine"...thousand

HUNDREDS of people have been queuing outside building sites in Phnom Penh

looking for jobs in what is fast becoming one of Cambodia's boom industries-the

rag trade.

Tack Fat Garment (Cambodia) Ltd-a $5 million company that is looking to hire

5,000 employees-have been interviewing women for jobs in a factory that is due

to open in two months.

Tack Fat specializes in swimming suits. Vice general manager Lok Kan Lung

said Tack Fat had contracts with many overseas companies, including some from

the United States.

"I believed the clients abroad will soon like my company because they feel

confident with a big company."

Seur Chanda, 20, had just passed the interview. She had studied sewing for

two months before applying for the job. She said she knew she would be unable to

find another similar job.

Prim Chanda, 23, who was waiting to be interviewed, said she wanted to work

in the garment factory to have a better living standard and to improve her

business knowledge.

"We are women. We cannot qualify for a good job and we've got nothing to do

but to sew. Sewing is a women's job," she said.

Lok Kan Lung said the Cambodian government gave the company confidence though

he thought it was risky to invest capital here.

He said the government helped and thanked his company for providing jobs to

the unemployed.

He emphasized doing business here it did not mean

exploitation of the workforce, but instead he wanted to help the Cambodian

government.

"Wages for Cambodian employees are not less than employees in China," he

said.

He said the company will treat employees fairly with reasonable wages

and would provide medicine and food.

He said successful candidates needed to be trained for two months in the new

job.

Public Relations advisor to the Royal government Dale Lawrence of Presko

said: "The objective of the CDC is not to exploit the people of Cambodia. It

means getting people back to work. The government is expecting employees to be

paid a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

Cambodia is becoming popular place to make garments. According to the CDC

investment list and other information the Post has learned, more than ten

garment factories will set up in 1995, investing $70 million, and providing more

than 10,000 jobs.

Ken Kamel, spokesman for Phnom Penh Singapore Factory III, said the company

is interested in Cambodia because the export tariffs and labor were cheap.

So far the company, opened in December 1995, had exported products to Europe,

Hong Kong and the United States.

Sok Hong, director of the Kong Hong Garment factory said his factory would

deal with contractors both locally and abroad.

The factory, opened on Feb 2, 1995, invested $1.7 million and would be hiring

1,000 workers

Lawrence said: "Companies are attracted here because they find

the Cambodian investment law is a great incentive... it reflects the private

sector economy the government created."

"They come for the low taxation yet they also want people in Cambodia to get

back to work. They are doing their best to help re-establish the Cambodian

economy."

Cambodia has been granted a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) from the

industrialized countries of GATT, allowing exports at preferential tariff

rates.

About 30 countries have granted GSP status to Cambodia, including the

European Union, Japan, Scandinavian countries, Russia, Canada and Australia.

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