Malaysia pledges to protect migrants

Malaysia’s newly-appointed ambassador to the Kingdom yesterday pledged to work with the government to ensure the rights and safety of Cambodian workers in Malaysia, a Foreign Affairs ministry official said.

Ambassador Eldeen Hasaaini bin Mohd Hashim made the pledge during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn at the ministry.

Tuot Panha, a ministry undersecretary of state, told reporters after the meeting that Mr Eldeen Hasaaini said his government has now placed the issue of migrant workers as a priority in its policy frameworks

“Ambassador Eldeen gave a promise that the Malaysian government would offer closer cooperation with the Cambodian government to address the problems of Cambodian domestic workers,” she said. “He said his government would take tougher action against any forms of abuse against them.”

Ms Panha said Mr Sokhonn also requested Mr Eldeen Hasaaini for the Malaysian government to provide sufficient protection for Cambodian domestic workers, noting that some still suffer abuse at the hands of their employers.

She noted that Malaysia’s immigration department reported that about 3,000 Cambodian are now working legally in the country while the Labour Ministry has reported there were about 30,000, both legal and illegal Cambodians working there.

Dy Thehoya, a programme officer with labour rights group Central, yesterday said undocumented migrant workers who work in Malaysia face a high risk of abuse and exploitation.

“From what I have observed, most undocumented migrant workers cannot seek justice when it comes to abuse or human rights violation,” he said. “We have seen many Cambodian maids returning from Malaysia with mental problems because they suffered violence.”

Ms Panha also said that during the meeting, Mr Eldeen Hasaaini pledged to promote trade and investment, noting that the trade volume between the two countries was about $411 million in 2017 and increased to $474 million last year.

She added that Mr Sokhonn requested Mr Eldeen Hasaaini to boost shipments of Cambodian milled rice to Malaysia, noting that last year the Kingdom exported 40,000 tonnes of milled rice.

Mr Eldeen Hasaaini also promised to look into ways to promote cooperation between the two countries regarding education and tourism, she said.


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