Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shuttered schools, factories

Shuttered schools, factories

Students ride a motorbike past a closed school in Phnom Penh
Students ride a motorbike past a closed school in Phnom Penh. VIREAK MAI

Shuttered schools, factories

With only about 10 per cent of its 1,000-person workforce at their stations by 8am yesterday, management at Hoyear (Cambodia) Garment Ltd cut its losses and announced that the factory would close for the next two days.

In his time working as Hoyear’s human resources manager, Em Socheat had never seen such a large absence of employees, he said. But then, clashes between military police and pro-opposition demonstrators that left one dead and several severely injured the previous day put Phnom Penh in a state of alert rarely seen in recent years.

“This is the first time that they’re [so] afraid of demonstrations,” Socheat said of the three-day ongoing demonstration in Freedom Park organised by the Cambodia National Rescue Party. “[It’s] because of the political situation in Cambodia.”

Thousands across the capital opted out of work and school yesterday as calls for caution – including an emergency notice from the United States embassy advising US citizens to stay off the street – reverberated around the city.

Cambodian public schools don’t begin until October, but at least a dozen private schools already in session in Phnom Penh told the Post they were disrupted by the demonstration, which started on Sunday.

“The parents [of the students] who didn’t come say they are afraid to send their kids,” said Selinna Peng, vice-principal of Maple Technology Enhanced Learning, where a significant number of students did not attend class yesterday.

Peng added that she wasn’t sure her school would be open today.

At the University of Health Sciences across from Freedom Park, exams were delayed, and at English Language Training Institute up to 30 per cent of students failed to attend class.

“We also worry about roadblocks and that it would be difficult for the students who ride the school bus,” said Men Khemrin, ELT’s administrative manager.

In addition to Hoyear Garments, Kin Tai Garment Co Ltd and Tae Young (Cambodia) Co Ltd shut their doors yesterday due to sparse attendance, Yang Sophorn, president of Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said. But not all workers who stayed home did so out of fear, Sophorn said.

About 500 employees at Kin Tai came into work and staged a walkout yesterday, marching from the Meanchey district factory to Freedom Park, said Chheang Thida, who walked out with co-workers.

“Other workers and I boycotted work to join the demonstration, help workers earn higher wages [as the CNRP promised] and improve the lives of all Cambodian people,” Thida said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “