Cambodia will wait for the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry plans to present to the Malaysian Cabinet to bring in foreign workers, especially Muslim maids from Cambodia to Malaysia.
The Cambodian Ministry of Labour said they have not been informed by Malaysia of its intentions to bring maids from Cambodia to work in Malaysia.
Ministry spokesman Heng Suor when contacted said it was up to an individual if he or she wished to go abroad to work.
“The choice is theirs but the ministry will study the proposed MoU and will advise our people accordingly,” he said yesterday.
Khmer Time had contacted Suor for comments following a New Straits Times report quoting Malaysian Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan that his ministry would present the proposed MoU to the cabinet to bring in foreign workers, especially Muslim maids from Cambodia.
Saravanan said on Saturday that his ministry had gone through various stages involving the matter and the MoU was expected to be completed soon.
“We are in the process (of finalising the details) and it will take time, but we are trying to speed it up.”
“I have had discussions with the Cambodian government and they will provide us the opportunity (to bring in maids),” he was quoted as saying.
Suor said he was unsure how many Cambodians are now left working in Malaysia.
“About 20% of 100,000 workers in Malaysia were repatriated due to Covid-19 but some maids are still hiding and working in Malaysia today.”
Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights NGO Central, was not in favour of sending Cambodians to work as maids abroad.
“I know of at least six cases of maid abuse including sexual abuse, working overload, working exploitation, and working with no pay,” Tola said.
There are many issues involving Cambodian maids working abroad and the government must study the cases thoroughly and create policies and mechanisms to ensure that our people are protected and cared for when working overseas, he said.
“The abuses must be stopped. The government must not rush to sign the MoU but take time to prepare a mechanism to curb any issue that can arise. The rights of our women must be protected.”
“We cannot just let them go work overseas and forget about them,” Tola said.