Actually I have touched this issue already when I was talking to people in Battambang province (when I presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the national road 57B). As far as training for (getting) jobs abroad is concerned, we should make further effort so that workers could be sent for work abroad for own income but also acquiring skills and technology too. The leading nation to provide jobs and training for Cambodians is the Republic of Korea. We have noted that some Korean companies operating in Cambodia are looking for Cambodian workers formerly worked and trained in Korea.
What is still my concern, and I would ask for immediate action, is the fact that there have been bad elements that attracted our people to migrate as laborers to foreign countries in negligence of responsibility and legality. They should be punished for cheating people out of their poverty and inexperience. Some people have been cheated into going for jobs abroad and consequently have been caught in Malaysia, Indonesia and especially in Thailand.
In Thailand, as I said the other day, our migrant workers would find no skilled jobs so they would do no other jobs than harvesting agricultural crops like those available inside the country. It is more often than not that they would be paid more or less similar salary to that inside the country and they have had to be parted from families too. Since they are entering other countries illegally, they are treated as illegal workers and in many instances they have been arrested and packed up in a closed-up truck like the one used for transporting stranded dogs in the old days.
In order to prevent our people from going for work abroad we have to make every effort to create jobs locally. Take for example in the field of agriculture some 72% of Cambodian labors have been employed. In every country in the world there is always this service employment sector, which definitely includes also agricultural ones. I would not rule out the fact that people are legally migrating for jobs.
It should be recalled that March 18, which was in the last week when we went to pay our condolences to the Japanese quake and tsunami victims in the Embassy of Japan, was when Cambodia plunged into war forty one years ago by a coup in 1970. By this time then, youth was appealed to take to the Maquis (jungle) while now on this very same time I appeal to our people to find jobs and to live harmoniously inside the country.
Forty one years ago, war broke out and people could not find a job to support their living, not even cultivation. That was not anyone’s mistake here but the coup on March 18, 1970. After the liberation, the country’s reconstruction and development started from scratch and today we have so much of this job creation and migration for jobs to be of concern.
Forty one years ago our people were trained for war, now we are putting them to skills and vocational trainings while finding ways to create jobs. I may reassure you that Cambodia has no need to recruit our youth into the army as we have more than we need now.
I have received a call from France concerning the Alliance Francaise in Cambodia, which is operating in Cambodia 21 years today. I have been approached for possible extension of the establishment here in Cambodia. Frankly speaking, Alliance Francaise is considered to be my own child as I have approved its re-establishment in 1990. Foreseeing the need for French language and cultural services, I would recommend the French, for the sake of speedy decision-making, send me a diplomatic note requesting for like 90 or 99 years of operation.
Since we have the presence of the Ambassador of France, HE Jean-François Desmazières, here I would say in public that the Alliance Francaise is here for long-term effort to restore the use and prestige of French language the way we have done with Le lycée Descartes here in Phnom Penh. The situation has drastically changed that of 41 years ago. Instead of getting ready to leave the country, the diplomatic missions are now here looking for long-term mission and again I affirm that Alliance Francaise is here to stay for a long time in Cambodia as it has so much to provide the country.
I have followed up with the issue of better pay and workplace for employees, which as has been sought for my approval in principle by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. Negotiations have been conducted so that workers will enjoy increase in wages (starting in March) and a bump for meal (in the case of overtime). In addition to that I urge concerned authorities and institutions to look after healthcare system and safety measures in place.
I have recommended for measures to be in place and ready in case of emergency for new workplace construction but also for hotels and enterprises. Also important is the fact that we have to figure out too if the place to be built into workplace is in appropriate environmental condition and the architectural plan is composed of necessary elements like health clinic, kitchen, dining area, etc. for the workers’ health sake.
It should be noted that once the workers are in good health, work in the factory will be well performed as well. Also, workers should consider factory as their food source, where if the factory is closed down, they would also have difficulty finding other food source as well. Both employers and employees should treat each other well with respect and trust./.