Cambodia offers to send maids to Malaysia

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

PUTRAJAYA: Cambodia has offered to resume sending its citizens here as domestic helpers.

The matter was discussed at a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen yesterday.

"Cambodia has expressed interest in allowing Cambodians to work here. We have accepted the offer, particularly for domestic maids.

"We will engage with the Cambodian government soon to allow more of its people to work here as maids," Najib told a joint press conference with Hun Sen after the meeting.

Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany were on a four-day official visit to Malaysia.

Cambodia stopped sending domestic workers to Malaysia in 2011 following allegations that some maids had been tortured and abused by their employers.

On the meeting, Najib said it was agreed that economic co-operation and trade volume should be increased "as this has been flat in recent years".

"There are opportunities for us to increase trade and we have agreed for the joint commission to meet soon,'' he added.

Najib commended the Cambodian government for being a good host to Malaysian investors, adding that he has received positive feedback on the treatment and service provided to them.

Investments by Malaysian companies in Cambodia totalled about US$4.3bil (RM17.63bil).

Phnom Penh was also seeking Putrajaya's co-operation for investments to be made in the agriculture sector, namely in the production and marketing of rice, and in construction and infrastructure development.

"We are also working to conclude negotiations on an agreement to tackle human trafficking, and have tasked Cambodia's Ministry of Women Affairs and our Home Ministry to expedite this," Najib added.

Hun Sen said he wanted to see more Cambodians employed in Malaysia, besides increasing investments, trade and scholarships for his people.

"I would also like to thank Malaysia for providing the opportunity for Cambodians who fled the war to live here.

"I hope they will get training and jobs, and (be able to) bring their experience and knowledge back to our homeland later," he said.