A Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) lawmaker has said that the Kingdom’s migrant workers in Thailand have vowed to return home to vote in the July 29 national elections.
But a former deputy president of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) expressed doubts that this would come to pass.
Chheang Vun, a CPP lawmaker, spent three days, from June 29 to July 1, in Thailand meeting with Cambodian migrant workers. He claimed the majority of them have vowed to return home to vote on July 29 – and for the CPP.
They welcomed me “and are ready to join the election to vote for the CPP on July 29,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“They said they love the CPP and would return to vote on July 29 for the party in order to contribute to the protection of peace,” the post reads.
Speaking to The Post on Tuesday, Vun said he met with more than 1,700 Cambodian migrant workers at four locations in Rayong province.
He said the primary reason for the visit was to see if the government could resolve any issues the migrants were facing. Vun said he did try to gauge if they would return home but noted that it was up to each individual.
He acknowledged that it is just recently that the government began paying attention to the needs of migrant workers.
“[Migrant workers] already know who helped them and who hasn’t. It’s not like in the past. Before, our officials did not care enough about them. So, that’s why we have been following them to Thailand for the past two years and now they are happy."
“Prime Minister Hun Sen has forced our officials to go meet with migrant workers and help produce legal documents for them. They are very happy now,” he said.
Mu Sohua, a former CNRP deputy president, said the sudden concern that the CPP is showing for migrants serves to increase voter turnout in the face of the CNRP’s calls for a boycott.
“CNRP did our best to defend and advocate for migrant workers to exercise their right to vote in 2013 and last year,” Sohua said.
She added that returning home will cost migrant workers money, so she strongly doubts they will return home to vote.