Gov’t Requests Probe Into Prisoners in Malaysia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the country’s ambassador to Malaysia, Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, to investigate reports that hundreds of Cambodian migrant workers have been jailed in the country’s Selangor state.

In a letter stamped “urgent” and dated Monday, Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State Long Visalo asks Princess Arunrasmey to look into reports that 95 Cambodians were arrested and imprisoned on April 8 and 19, bringing the number of workers being detained in Sengalor to about 300. 

“The ministry requests Samdech [Princess Arunrasmey] to investigate about 300 Cambodian citizens arrested and detained by Malaysian authorities, and intervene through the Malaysian government to release 95 Cambodian citizens, and report back on the outcome to the ministry,” the letter says.

The letter follows a request from opposition lawmaker Son Chhay to Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Nam­hong, dated July 20, asking the government to take action over Cambodians imprisoned in Malaysia for working there illegally.

“Today, a majority of them have been detained in Selangor state of Malaysia for at least three or four months,” Mr. Chhay’s letter said. “A few workers have been released after paying 3,000 RM [about $783], and a number of men were beaten before their release.”

Mr. Chhay said on Friday that he learned of the incarceration of migrants from their peers while on a trip to Malaysia with CNRP Pres­ident Sam Rainsy in April.

“We need to give encouragement for the ministry taking measures on this matter, but we are upset about the information we learned from the Cambodian citizens there, because our embassy is really weak since they don’t care to help those being arrested and detained in Malaysia.”

Mr. Chhay said that Prime Minister Hun Sen, during the same trip, told officials at the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia to ensure that workers there had necessary documentation to remain in the country legally.

“But we still receive information that the migrant workers still face difficulties having visas extended or getting new passports,” he said.

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