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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     15 October  2011

Cambodian domestics banned from Malaysia

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The dire shortage of maids affecting some 35,000 families has just gotten worse with Cambodia springing a surprise ban on its citizens working as domestic helpers in Malaysia.

This comes three days after Indonesia announced that a moratorium on sending its maids had not been lifted pending a proper framework being put in place.

A report from Phnom Penh yesterday said Prime Minister Hun Sen made the decision after expressing disappointment with alleged incidents of beatings and rape of Cambodian maids by their Malaysian employers.

The report quoted Cambodia's Community Legal Education Centre, which helps abused domestic workers, as saying at least three maids were killed in Malaysia, and two raped and kept in isolation.

Their passports were also withheld by their employers.

The Association of Cambodian Recruiting Agencies president An Bunhak said it would uphold the government order.

“The Ministry of Labour will enforce what the prime minister has said,” An Bunhak said, adding that about 50,000 maids had sought work in Malaysia since 2009.

Cambodian recruitment agencies had earlier this year decided not to send maids to Kuwait after complaints of abuse by employers there.

The ban has major implications on Malaysian families as many employers turned to Cambodian maids following Indonesia's freeze on their domestic workers.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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