Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a selfie with garment workers during a visit to a factory in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a selfie with garment workers during a visit to a factory in Phnom Penh yesterday. Facebook

PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday continued his bid to woo the Kingdom’s thousands-strong bloc of garment workers, reminding workers of the perils of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s proposal to leverage an EU embargo on garment imports to improve the country’s political and human rights environment.

The premier has for the last two weeks met with factory employees and workers, doling out populist benefits in what many consider to be a campaign to garner support for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party among a voter base long considered to side with the opposition. Recent talking points have included free bus rides in Phnom Penh, free health insurance, higher maternity pay and a monthly minimum wage of at least $160 for 2018.

While the premier suggested a $168 minimum wage on his Facebook page – a $15 increase from the current $153 – he has since stuck to referring to a figure of “at least $160” in his speeches to workers.

Yesterday, Hun Sen reminded workers that a “traitor” had suggested that investors stay away from the country and refrain from buying garments from the Kingdom – a critical sector for the economy – a thinly-veiled reference to a suggestion made by self-exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy last year.

“This is a traitor person, who wants to destroy the benefits of his own people,” the premier said, speaking to workers at Vattanac Industrial Park.

Prime Minister Hun Sen tries his hand at ironing pants during a visit with garment workers as part of his ongoing campaign to bolster support in the sector.
Prime Minister Hun Sen tries his hand at ironing pants during a visit with garment workers as part of his ongoing campaign to bolster support in the sector. Facebook

He then took aim at the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party – which he called the “three don’ts” party for its admonishments not to donate, invest or buy from Cambodia – accusing it of using workers to bolster its post-election demonstrations in 2013, and asking workers to remember who had in fact worked for them.

“All wage increases and other benefits did not come from the other group. It came from workers like yourself, employers and the CPP government ruling the country’’ he said.

Neither Rainsy nor CNRP representatives Yi Sovann, Yem Ponhearith or Eng Chhay Eang could be reached yesterday.

Hun Sen yesterday also announced a nine-year tax exemption for garment factories, with Ken Loo, spokesman for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, saying that while a similar tax window already existed in the investment law, garment factories only received three to four years’ tax exemption.

But if the nine-year tax window were to extend retroactively and for new investments that would be “excellent news”, he added. “The wages have to go up, but it is important he is aware of the challenges and the government is helping enterprises reduce costs.”

Even as the premier was touting his contributions to the sector, 64 workers at H&M supplier Berry Apparel in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district fainted yesterday morning, with Free Trade Union member Seng Sinuon saying one worker fainted because of low blood sugar, causing the others to collapse upon seeing her fall.

While Berry Apparel representatives could not be reached, H&M Global Press Officer Ulrica Bogh-Lind said their local team was monitoring the situation and taking the incident “very seriously”.

“The factory management are working with a team from the NSSF at the factory to identify the cause of this incident.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon