In order to ensure the rights and safety of migrant workers in Malaysia, two Cambodian recruitment associations yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three associations from Malaysia at the Labour Ministry.
The two Cambodian associations were the Manpower Association of Cambodia and the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, while the Malaysian associations were the Malaysian Association of Foreign Workers Agencies, the National Association of Human Resources Malaysia and the Malaysia National Association of Employment Agencies.
The signing was overseen by Labour Minister Ith Samheng.
ACRA president Ung Seangrithy yesterday said that the aim of the MoU is to establish cooperation among the five migrant recruitment associations in order to promote the rights and welfare, and to provide protection to Cambodian workers in Malaysia.
“This MoU is a new mechanism to assist the Labour Ministry in increasing benefits for Cambodian migrant workers in Malaysia,” Ms Seangrithy said. “This is also a mission that we organised in order to protect our workers that we send to Malaysia by cooperating with our partners there.”
She noted the MoU requires the Malaysian associations to communicate with her if there are problems involving Cambodian workers. Ms Seangrithy said by doing so, help can promptly be provided to the workers.
The government banned sending workers to Malaysia seven years ago due to abuse of Cambodian maids by Malaysian employers. It then lifted the ban in June and has since been working to ensure the safety of Cambodian workers overseas.
However, Cambodia has yet to send any migrant workers since the ban was lifted, Ms Seangrithy said.
“I cannot say yet how many workers will be sent to Malaysia next year after the signing of the MoU,” she said. “We cannot say that the number of migrant workers to be sent to Malaysia will decrease due to the many optional countries they have, but they require the skill, ability and knowledge that each country needs.”
Ms Seangrithy added that she expects the abuse of Cambodian migrant workers to decrease due to the signing of the MoU.
Cambodian workers in Malaysia earn about $300 to $350 per month. Currently, there are 69 recruitment agencies licensed by the Labour Ministry to select, train, send and manage migrant workers.
Nguy Rith, deputy director of the ministry’s labour department, yesterday said Cambodian migrant workers do not have to worry about safety any more.
“All these associations will improve their management for our workers and reduce the number of problems that occur involving our workers,” Mr Rith said. “We think that this is a good mechanism to protect workers. The ministry also has advisers working at the Cambodian embassy in Malaysia tasked with monitoring the well-being of workers. We do not only depend on associations to ensure the safety of workers.”