Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak has agreed to allow more Cambodian citizens as domestic helpers to work in the country. Cambodia in turn has also accepted the expression of interest.
“We have accepted the offer and particularly in the field of domestic maids, so we will engage with the Cambodian government to allow more Cambodians to work as maids in this country,” Najib said at a joint press conference with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen, Bernama reported.
The SouthEast Asian leaders, Malaysia and Cambodia had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Information and Broadcasting Cooperation, and a Letter of Intent between the two governments on agricultural cooperation.
Prime Minister Hun Sun placed on sending maids to Malaysia in 2011. After the four years, the Malaysian gates have opened once again. Considering the increasing demand for domestic helpers in the country and lack of skilled workforce, the country has finally opened doors to allow Cambodian citizens to work in Malaysia.
Previously demand for domestic workers in Malaysia was met by the Indonesian migrant workers. However, post the recent increase in the number of abuse cases at the hands of foreign employers, Jakarta has tightened its rules and regulations to send its workforce to work abroad.
Recruiters opine that it could be 2017 by the time Cambodia starts sending domestic helpers to Malaysia through legal channels again. While both governments are working on ways to bring back cooperation through talent routing, there are months to go before the maids finally arrive in Malaysia.
An Bunhak, a former president of the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies told Cambodia Daily, that a government task force has to be set up to fill in the blanks left by the memorandum incomplete. Meanwhile, labour rights group are wary of the security and safety of the Cambodian maids in Malaysia.
Furthermore, the Malaysian Government should ensure that the new recruits of domestic helpers from Cambodia should be equipped with home management skills and a special training on Malaysian culture and language to adapt them easily to the needs of their employers.
Malaysian Maid Employers Association president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein expressed hopes to the Sun Daily saying, “The cost of employing domestic maids from Cambodia was on par with the quality of labour supplied and did not exceed the cost of hiring domestic maids from other countries.”
Minister of Labor Ith Samheng emphasised that the government should ensure safety and security of domestic helpers and that, “The MoU would curb the rate of illegal trafficking and migration in the so called “maid-trade.”
According to Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), the Labour Minister confirmed the proposal to use new technology to simplify the management and access to information about workers’ welfare in Malaysia, including the reliability of being paid and the potential for employers to use violence. However, it has yet to be finalized what sort of specific technology will be used, be it a mobile app or otherwise.
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