Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Human trafficking memorandum meeting cancelled

Human trafficking memorandum meeting cancelled

Human trafficking memorandum meeting cancelled

Protracted negotiations for a memorandum of understanding between Cambodia and Malaysia to counter human trafficking hit another hurdle yesterday with the last-minute cancellation of two-day talks between the governments.

Confused attendees were greeted at the lobby of the Phnom Penh Hotel by a staff member who denied such a meeting would be held there.

San Arun, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs said a Malaysian embassy official had told her at 3pm the previous day they had to pull out of the meeting because two of four technical experts in their delegation could not make the trip.

“It seems like they were ready, but then at the last minute, this happened. I still believe we can work together in a positive manner,” she said, adding that the two governments would probably have to postpone the meeting until September.

Raja Saifful Ridzuwan, deputy chief of mission at the Malaysian embassy in Phnom Penh, said the postponement was due to a minor administrative matter in Malaysia.

“The postponement will not have any bearing on our commitment to get this MoU ready, and I hope we can sign the agreement soon,” he said.

In October, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a moratorium on sending maids to Malaysia amid a spate of abuse and exploitation scandals that included allegations of forced detention, under-age recruitment, withholding of pay and brutal treatment by employers.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Centre, said he was disappointed the MoU had again been delayed while Cambodian maids that had remained in Malaysia after the moratorium still faced severe abuses.

“The death cases are still happening . . . so we don’t understand why the Malaysian government doesn’t take any concrete action to combat violations and exploitation,” he said.

Tola called for the public release of the draft MoU so civil society could have input.

San Arun said the draft MoU remained a confidential document being negotiated by the two governments.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Boyle at [email protected]


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which