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

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Show evidence of Chinese military base, critics told

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said he had had enough of certain countries and opposition groups claiming Cambodia had allowed China to base its military in Cambodia and dared critics to show clear evidence. Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a groudbreaking

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from