Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM asks Malaysia to take more Cambodian workers

PM asks Malaysia to take more Cambodian workers

Cambodian domestic workers repatriated from Malaysia speak to NGO officials in Phnom Penh last year after they were rescued from horrific work conditions.
Cambodian domestic workers repatriated from Malaysia speak to NGO officials in Phnom Penh last year after they were rescued from horrific work conditions. Vireak Mai

PM asks Malaysia to take more Cambodian workers

Malaysia is primed to accept an influx of Cambodian workers after Prime Minister Hun Sen entreated his Malay counterpart to receive more Cambodians during an official visit to Malaysia late last week.

On Facebook on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote: “I suggested to Prime Minister [Najib Razak] that he be open to receiving more Cambodian workers to provide work for them, with a good salary and with good working conditions.”

“Meanwhile,” he wrote, “both countries are determined to prevent human trafficking across the country and international terrorism, which destroys peace in the region and in the world.”

Malay media reported Prime Minister Najib Razak embraced the Cambodian premier’s request, particularly as it pertained to domestic maids.

The news comes after the premier’s own 2011 ban on maids migrating to Malaysia was lifted late last year, and a fresh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked between the two nations in December – the details of which have yet to be finalised, according to Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour.

Sour said the MoU would give any future maids legal recourse against the raft of abuses maids suffered in Malaysia in the past, adding that 30,000 Cambodians were currently working in Malaysia.

“If they work there via legal means, it is easy for us to help them. We worry that if they work there illegally, it is difficult to help them when they have problems,” he said.

The Malaysian Embassy last week did not respond to the Post’s requests for a final copy of the signed MoU.

Moeun Tola, executive director at labour rights group Central, said he was “ashamed” of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s comments.

“Being prime minister, he should think about creating jobs or creating opportunities within the country for his own people, not asking the foreign government to recruit labour from our country,” Tola said.

He said legal protections and monitoring mechanisms were not yet in place to protect low-skilled workers from exploitation. “So far, the Malaysian government does not have any intention to provide legal protection to the maids,” he said.

“I don’t think the Cambodian government should consider sending more people to Malaysia while all those issues are not being solved – the abuse, the exploitation, physical violence, and debt bondage,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • Woman who scaled Cambodia’s three highest peaks eyes Everest

    One of the very few Cambodian women to have successfully reached the Kingdom’s three highest peaks is now eyeing Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, and potentially even the world’s tallest straddling Nepal and China, Mount Everest. While in many Western countries it

  • Cheap, clean and efficient: The firm leading Cambodia’s solar revolution

    Sitting in her bright and airy 17th floor office, Rithya Menon, Okra Smart Solar’s lead firmware engineer, checks the frequently updating data telling her everything about how well their community services are operating. “I saw in the data that there was a problem with