KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Cambodia will resume sending maids to Malaysia in a new agreement set to be signed this month, a year after a memorandum of understanding to lift a five-year-old ban, The Cambodia Daily reported today.
Cambodia's Labour Ministry officials was quoted saying that both countries are working on the final details of the deal that will include provisions to ensure better protection of its citizens.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen imposed the ban in 2011 amid mounting reports of unpaid salaries, forced overtime, meager meals, and physical and sexual abuse of Cambodian maids by Malaysian employers.
"We’re almost finished. We just need the green light from both leaders," the paper quoted Chuop Narath, deputy director of the ministry’s labor department, as saying.
The deal with Cambodia comes just as Myanmar announced a ban on its citizens from working in Malaysia as a sign of protest against what it deemed as Putrajaya's meddling of its domestic affairs.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had openly criticised the Myanmar government for the violence against ethnic Rohingyas in the conflict-torn Rakhine state.
At the same, labour rights groups in Cambodia said they were sceptical that the new deal will ensure the maids will be given adequate protection.
The paper noted that some of the country's Labour Ministry officials were found to be financially invested in some of the local recruitment agencies they’re charged with regulating.
A leader of a labour rights NGO there was quoted saying the Cambodian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had continued renewing the passports of maids who were already in Malaysia even after the 2011 ban.
“So there are a lot of missing maids. Still, now," said Moeun Tola, leader of workers rights group NGO Central.