CNRP Requests Migrant Worker Draft Agreement

The opposition CNRP has written to the embassies of Singapore and Malaysia requesting copies of draft agreements with the Cambodian government on sending migrant workers to the countries that they say they were not privy to.

A Ministry of Labor official last month said the government was in talks with Malaysia to resume sending maids to the country after Prime Minister Hun Sen in October 2011 instituted a ban amid recurring reports of abuse at the hands of their employers.

Maids also began arriving in Singapore in September as part of a pilot program that will see about 400 Cambodians working as maids in the city-state by the end of this year.

The CNRP’s letters, signed by party whip Son Chhay and public affairs head Mu Sochua, say that copies of the agreements with the two countries have not been made available for scrutiny by the Cambodian government.

“We are writing to your good office with regard to the bilateral agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Malaysia on migrant workers,” a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to Cambodia’s new Malaysian Ambassador Raszlan bin Abdul Rashid says.

“It is our duty and responsibility to monitor policies and bilateral agreements of the Cambodian Government with other nations,” the letter says, citing concerns for the well-being of Cambodians abroad.

A duplicate letter was addressed to Singapore’s ambassador.

Mr. Chhay said Wednesday that the CNRP had been unsuccessful in its efforts to secure copies of the two agreements from the Ministry of Labor.

“We have searched for any copy from the Cambodian government but we have not succeeded in finding who has a copy,” Mr. Chhay said. “We have spoken to some people in NGOs that are working closely with the Ministry of Labor but they said they have no idea too.”

Speaking to reporters separately Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong had requested that Mr. Abdul Rashid ensure that measures are put in place to protect migrant workers headed for Malaysia after the ban is lifted in the next two months.

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