Source: Khmer Times
More than 500 migrant workers, who fled from South Korea and Japan to join Khem Veasna’s end-of-the-world gathering near the Kulen mountain, are in dire straits as they are left with no job and money.
As most of them returned to Cambodia illegally, they cannot go back and rejoin the organisations where they were employed.
In an interview with Khmer Times yesterday, Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said, “Majority of them absconded in violation of their job contracts to join the doomsday gathering.”
Sour pointed out that if employees leave without informing the employer, the employer has the right to blacklist them for violating the terms of the job contract and labour law. But officials concerned in Cambodia are mediating to reduce the damage caused by running away from the employers.
He noted that only qualified people get high-paying occupations in South Korea and Japan, and that is not an easy process. “Yet these 500 people gave up their precious jobs and fled to join the gathering.”
“As of now, not a single migrant worker who returned from their job in South Korea and Japan can go back and rejoin. They are also aware of the situation that they cannot be employed back in the same position,” he added.
Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central), said, “Similar to the labour laws in Cambodia, both countries offer the migrant workers (employees) 18 days of annual leave, sick leave, emergency leave, and a variety of other options. If they do not obtain permission to leave for the home country, the migrant workers risk losing their jobs.”
He noted that though people have the right to believe in anything, “it was unfortunate to see people leaving their well-paid jobs by simply believing the bizarre claims of a person – rather than a priest’s – that the end of the world is near”.
Contrary to the equal treatment espoused by League for Democratic Party and its leader Veasna, the self-styled god of creation Brahma, some of the returnees alleged preferential treatment inside the farmstead.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a woman who left the Veasna gathering and his farmstead on Tuesday said that the members of the Kulen gathering were given accommodations based on the contribution they had made to the organisers.
“Those with large contribution sleep in a tiny air-conditioned house, those with medium contributions will sleep in a central small house, and those with less contributions will sleep in tents,” she said.
“However, food was the same for everyone, and served in the same environment,” she added.
However, Veasna has denied this allegation on his Facebook page.
In spite of a food shortage in the farmstead, more than 1,000 people are still staying on, said Major General Teng Channat, Siem Reap provincial police chief, yesterday.