Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government fires official who sent maid to Saudi Arabia

Government fires official who sent maid to Saudi Arabia

Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary of State Ahmad Yahya speaks to the press earlier this year. Yahya was recently removed from his position after illegally sending domestic labourers to Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary of State Ahmad Yahya speaks to the press earlier this year. Yahya was recently removed from his position after illegally sending domestic labourers to Saudi Arabia. Hong Menea

Government fires official who sent maid to Saudi Arabia

A prominent Muslim community leader under fire for his role in recruiting an underage maid to work in Saudi Arabia 12 years ago has been terminated from his government position, according to a copy of a royal decree released yesterday – the same day that a rival Muslim community leader posted claims that he had located a second maid who had been trafficked to the gulf country.

The decree, signed by Cambodia’s acting head of state and Senate President Say Chhum on Friday, does not give a reason for firing Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary of State Ahmad Yahya.

Yahya has been in the spotlight since it emerged that Sos Rotors, a 28-year-old Cham Muslim maid who was stranded in Saudi Arabia for 12 years, had been sent there by his recruiting company.

Yahya yesterday said he did not know why he was being fired. “I don’t want to find out [the reason],” Yahya said. “Find out for what? Whatever I did, I know myself. Between me and God, I know everything.”

He has repeatedly denied that he knew Rotors was underage at the time.

Rotors was repatriated to Cambodia last month with the help of Labour Ministry Secretary of State Othsman Hassan, who claimed on Facebook yesterday that he had found a second maid who had been sent to work in Saudi Arabia by Yahya’s now-defunct recruiting company.

In the post, Hassan claims that the maid’s name is Eng Pov and that she was recruited more than 13 years ago.

“I am working to contact the Ministry of Labour in Saudi Arabia to help secure her return to Cambodia and to sue the employer that exploits the labour of Cambodians,” he wrote.

Hassan has come under scrutiny for his own family’s involvement in a recruiting agency while he serves as a labour official. Reached yesterday, he said “I’m in a meeting” and hung up.

Minister of Social Affairs Touch Channy declined to comment on the firing, saying only that it was a private matter. Interior Ministry anti-trafficking official Chou Bun Eng said she had not heard of the second alleged maid but said that if the accusation was true, Yahya’s actions were likely illegal.

“During that period, Cambodia had no agreement with Saudi Arabia to send maids to work in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “So the company that recruited people to work in Saudi Arabia is illegal.”

However, Eng said that she cannot start an investigation into Yahya until a victim comes forward.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Using tech innovation to tackle Cambodia’s rampant road deaths

    Cutting corners, rampant phone use, speeding and driving through red lights – these are just some of the reasons why driving in Phnom Penh can often feel like a city-wide game of dodgems. The high death toll on the nation’s roads – combined with several high-profile