The government will send 360 officials to Thailand to implement a 100-day campaign to give illegal migrant workers proper documents, the labour minister said yesterday while also accusing an opposition lawmaker and NGO worker of swaying migrant workers’ votes.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng said at a ministry meeting that officials would issue legal documents to thousands of workers from September 15 to December 12 before the Thai government enacts new labour laws in 2018.
Mr Samheng said that after the Thais implemented their new law on foreign workers in June, more than 270,000 Cambodian migrant workers were deported in just two weeks, before the two governments agreed to delay the crackdown until 2018 and allow illegal workers to stay in Thailand while they gathered their documents.
“Our officials will have a mission in Thailand for a 100-day campaign to arrange labour cards, travel cards and other legal documents for illegal Cambodian workers in Thailand,” he said.
The minister then accused CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua and labour rights leader Moeun Tola of visiting workers in Thailand to encourage them to return to Cambodia and vote for the opposition in next year’s national election.
“Mu Sochua and Moeun Tola are trying to convince Cambodian workers in Thailand to come to vote against our party, so our officials involved in the 100-day campaign will also advise them to support the government,” he said.
Ms Sochua could not be reached for comment. Mr Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, denied the allegation. “I deny what the minister accused me of,” he said.
“We work hard with Cambodian workers in Thailand and we want to see all workers abroad return to vote, but we do not order them who to vote for.
“They have the right to decide their vote for themselves.”