Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Observers' drivers to lose their votes



Observers' drivers to lose their votes

Observers' drivers to lose their votes

IT IS an irony along the lines of "fighting for peace" that some Cambodian

translators and drivers working for foreign election observers are not going to be

able to vote.

Most foreign observers have hired staff who live in Phnom Penh and have registered

to vote here, even though on election day they will be working in other provinces

- where they can't vote.

The Post talked to some Khmer staff who are upset about being disenfranchised but

too scared to say anything publicly for fear of losing their jobs

One driver who will be based in Svay Rieng said his priority had to be economic survival.

"I would like to vote but I have to find the money for living first. If they

allow me to vote I will drive from Svay Rieng to vote here," he said.

But he said he'd probably be too busy on election day visiting various voting stations

to have enough time to get back to Phnom Penh.

"I work for them for a salary so I have to serve them and respect the orders

from them," he said.

He added: "I'm sorry I cannot give you my name because I am afraid my job will

be stoppedwhen they see my name on your newspaper. Maybe they'd fire me."

The problem was identified by UN electoral adviser Jacques Carrio soon after he arrived

in May.

Carrio wrote to the National Election Committee (NEC) asking if observers' staff

could vote where they would be working.

Carrio's letter described the foreign observer missions as being put in a "frightful

dilemma".

The NEC replied that there was no provision in the electoral law for absentee votes

and to change the law was impossible at that late stage, he said.

Carrio understood the NEC's position but he would have been "much happier"

if a solution could have been found.

A driver who was going to Prey Veng said that during UNTAC they could vote anywhere

they wanted but now the rules had been changed.

He said he had not been told he would have to miss out on voting when he was employed.

"Before I started work they didn't ask me where I was registered and if they

had asked me I would not have told them because this [job] is a good one to get money,"

he said.

"So I have to leave the voting to one side and find the money first."

Another driver who is going to Kandal said that he was upset he would miss out on

the vote.

"I work for them, I get my salary from them so if I vote or not is up to them.

If they allow me to vote in the evening I would appreciate it," he said.

"One vote has full meaning and can save the country and can decide the country's

fate."

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and