Cam­bo­dian mi­grant work­ers are wel­come, says Kuwaiti diplo­mat

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Kong Meta

KUWAIT is open for Cam­bo­dian mi­grant work­ers, said the Head of Mis­sion at the Em­bassy of the State of Kuwait in Cam­bo­dia, Za­her M B M Alk hu­rainej at a press con­fer­ence i n Ph­nom Penh on Tues­day.

He also stressed on the “con­sol­i­da­tion and de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two friendly coun­tries”.

Invit­ing Cam­bo­di­ans to work in Kuwait, Alkhu­rainej re­ferred to the recent meet­ing be­tween the two coun­tries’ labour min­is­ters who dis­cussed man­power is­sues, among oth­ers.

In 2009, Cam­bo­dia and Kuwait signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing in man­power ex­change but did not ac­ti­vate it, and no worker had been sent there so far.

Labour Min­is­ter Ith Sam Heng agreed to send about 5,000 mi­grant work­ers to the coun­try for the first time next year, fol­low­ing a meet­ing with Kuwait’s So­cial Af­fairs and Labour Min­is­ter Hind Al-Sabeeh in Ph­nom Penh on Oc­to­ber 24.

Alk hu­rainej urged Cam­bo­di­ans to do their best and be hon­est when work­ing in Kuwait.

“When [em­ploy­ers] as­sign you to work, please do not cheat. You must work ef­fi­ciently. If you re­spect em­ploy­ers, they will re­spect you in re­turn.

“If you do not work and make re­peated mis­takes, they will fire you,” he said.

Alk hu­rainej a lso noted that his countr y guar­an­tees work­ers’ wel­fare, and he ca lled on them to re­port to the Cam­bo­dian Em­bassy in Kuwait if they had prob­lems or were ex­ploited.

“Each coun­try has prob­lems, but we should not just fo­cus on those, but fig­ure out how to re­solve them in­stead.

“Our coun­try hosts a Cam­bo­dian Em­bassy. You can in­form the em­bassy and con­tact the labour min­istry or hire a lawyer to de­fend your rights when con­flict oc­curs. Our labour laws are based on in­ter­na­tional laws. You will be safe when work­ing [in Kuwait],” he said.

Alkhu­rainej added that gen­er­ally, em­ploy­ers hold work­ers’ pass­ports dur­ing the em­ploy­ment pe­riod.

“[Our gov­ern­ment] is­sues an iden­tity card for [each worker] to carry. Their pass­ports are kept to avoid them be­ing lost or dam­aged.”

On the min­i­mum wage, Alk hu­rainej said it varies depend­ing on the sec­tor one is work­ing in.“We wel­come Cam­bo­dian work­ers to work in a ll sec­tors, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion and healt hcare.”

Moeun Tola, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of rights group Cen­tral, said Cam­bo­dia and Kuwait should re­view each other’s laws and reg­u­la­tions.

He said the two must es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism to solve dis­putes or when work­place vi­o­lence oc­curs.

“The gov­ern­ment must be sure that we have the abil­ity to track down and res­cue mi­grants when an is­sue breaks out,” he said, sug­gest­ing that it sends 100 work­ers first as a pi­lot project.

Labour Min­istry spokesman Heng Sour said Kuwait had its own pro­ce­dures and so does Cam­bo­dia.

“We will send work­ers only when all Cam­bo­dia’s re­quire­ments are ful­filled and we are sure that our work­ers’ safety, rights and ben­e­fits will be well pro­tected,” he said.

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