Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Passports for migrant workers can’t be issued any faster, Sar Kheng says



Passports for migrant workers can’t be issued any faster, Sar Kheng says

People stand in a queue to apply for Cambodian passports at the passport office in Phnom Penh last year.
People stand in a queue to apply for Cambodian passports at the passport office in Phnom Penh last year. Leonie Kijewski

Passports for migrant workers can’t be issued any faster, Sar Kheng says

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Monday said the Cambodian government could not afford more passport printing machines to speed up the process of documenting the hundreds of thousands of citizens working abroad, predominantly in Thailand.

At the presentation of the annual report for the General Department of Identification on Monday, Kheng said the machines were simply too costly. He said it was possible for Cambodians to apply for their passports in four locations – Phnom Penh and three border provinces – but the ministry had to ship the passports from Phnom Penh.

“We only have the capacity to make passports and identification cards at one place because the equipment is not cheap . . . Therefore we cannot afford it yet, and the Ministry of Economy [and Finance] would not give us money because it is expensive,” he said. “The machine is worth millions, but I do not know about it specifically.”

The Ministry of Interior has an allocated budget of $409 million for 2018.

Sok Sophorn, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s Passport Department, yesterday said he didn’t know the costs of the machines. “We are just the ones who use it,” he said, and directed questions to the company that had provided the machines – Sok Hong company.

A representative of the company said she didn’t know about the costs.

Kheng on Monday also seemed to implicitly accept that some corruption might make the documentation process more costly for migrants.

“There could be some bad officials [who take money] but the government in principle does not charge them money,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he