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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soaring demand for labour

Soaring demand for labour

Soaring demand for labour

They trust the workers’ productivity, their respect for discipline and that they don’t run away from work.

THE numbers of migrant workers leaving Cambodia for Malaysia and Thailand have soared so far this year, according to recruitment agents, despite welfare concerns.

Data released by the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agencies to The Post showed that 22,425 workers left the Kingdom from January to October, compared to just 11,657 during the whole of 2009.

The sharp increase has coincided with mounting concern over the fate of Cambodian domestic workers in Malaysia, fuelled by a spate of complaints.

Earlier this year, rights group Adhoc said it has had 28 complaints from women claiming to have been abused while working as domestic servants, most of whom were based in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, demand for labour remains high.

An Bun Hak, president of ACRA, said that the reliability and strong work commitment of Cambodian workers meant that Malaysian employers were asking for more and more labour to be provided by the Kingdom.

“Now, we stand fifth [in terms of worker numbers] among the countries which send workers to Malaysia.

Employers “trust the workers’ productivity, their respect for discipline and that they don’t run away from work”, he said.

The data showed the number of workers going to Malaysia reached 14,339 in the first 10 months of this year, compared to a total of 8,114 in 2009. Of these, 4,341 people were working in factories and 9,998 in housekeeping.

Meanwhile, 8,086 workers left for Thailand in the first 10 months, up from 3,543 last year.

According to An Bun Hak, the rise illustrated a move for illegal workers to apply for legal employment permits.

Labour demand, according to the organisation, is set to increase next year.

ACRA orders are on the rise, with Malaysia set to require 30,000 workers from Cambodia next year, and Thailand 50,000.

Pay conditions could also improve, An Bun Hak said.

He expected that salaries of Malaysia-bound workers would rise, as Chinese labourers return to their homeland due to an increase in domestic wages in the People’s Republic.

“Some employers have confirmed that salaries will be three times higher,” he said.

Salaries for workers going to Thailand and Malaysia currently range from between $180 to $350 per month, according to ACRA.


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