The Labour Ministry yesterday asked both the Information and Culture ministries to ban a Khmer song about garment workers not being paid before Pchum Ben.
A Labour Ministry statement yesterday requested both ministries to ban the song “Pchum Ben Noek Srok,” which in English means Missing Home for Pchum Ben, by singer Mao Hachi of Town Production.
The ministry said the song describes garment workers who have not yet been paid before Pchum Ben and their anguish over not being able to go back to their hometowns for the holiday.
“The meaning of this song is counter to the government’s policy,” the statement noted. “The government takes care of and protects workers.”
“Please instruct all writers and producers not to make songs or videos about garment workers which are contrary to the government’s efforts to protect them,” it added.
The ministry also said that employers must give their workers a paid holiday for Pchum Ben from Monday to Wednesday.
It also suggested that employers pay the workers their wages before the break to make it easier for them to return to their home provinces to observe Pchum Ben.
The ministry’s move to get the song banned has drawn flak from Facebook users
“The ministry should not ban the song because it does not focus on all garment workers,” a Facebook user said.
Ngoun Soben, who wrote the song, told local media yesterday that it has been around for more than two years and the ministry only now wants it banned.
“I just wrote about the woes of some garment workers who did not get paid to go home for Pchum Ben,” he said. “I did not generalise and say that all workers did not get paid.”
Last month, the ministry also asked for a ban on a song about domestic workers which was produced by Khmer Amatak productions.
“The meaning of the song may have reflected reality years ago, but presently, the lives of domestic workers have improved because the government has been giving them protection and full rights,” the ministry said. “The song affects the dignity of domestic workers.”