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Articles about MP Mu Sochua, or articles related to her interests and causes

Malaysian police and MP Mu Sochu take actions over the death of a Cambodian maid

Malaysian police and MP Mu SochuA take actions over the death of a Cambodian maid


By Khmerization
On 23rd July, Khmerization has received a mayday email from a concerned Malaysian national alerting about the death (murder?) of a Cambodian maid in Malaysia. The email was published and sent to more than 400 people, including the Malaysian Embassy, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia. The English-language Phnom Penh Post has also reported about the girls’ death.

MP Mu Sochua (pictured), one of the receivers of Khmerization’s email, has responded positively by promising to pester the Malaysian authority until she get the answer. “In my capacity as MP, I have and will bring to the immediate attention of the Malaysian embassy in Cambodia the issue of Cambodian workers working in Malaysia, in particular the safety and security of women working as domestic workers”, she said.

She also thanked Khmerization for circulating the news about this case. “I wish to thank Khmerization for circulating the news. The case reported in the past, was successfully resolved, thanks to your input”, added her email.

In a follow up email, Mu Sochua had promised to do all she can to get an answer about the girl’s death. “I called the Malaysian Embassy yesterday. No reply but my letter will follow. I will surely get to speak to an official. A letter to the govt. is also on the way”, she said in an email to Khmerization.

She also informed Khmerization that local NGOs are taking up the case further. “Local NGO spoke to the aunt of the victim who claims she was 19 year-old. The family wants to retract their consent to have the body cremated in Malaysia” added her email.

Khmerization is happy to say that the Royal Malaysian Police has also promised to take further action on the case after it received an email alert from Khmerization. “Thank you for your email. Further action will be taken as soon as possible. Thank you”, said a public relation officer of the Royal Malaysian Police through an email to Khmerization.

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Concern over maids death

The Phnom Penh Post

MONDAY, 25 JULY 2011 15:03

MOM KUNTHEAR AND DAVID BOYLE

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua and rights groups are investigating the death of a teenage Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, amid allegations she was abused by her employer.

Concerns over the girls death were raised after the news-agg-regating website Khmerization received an email from a person identified as Yip Soon Yew, who alleged Khor Phaik, a 15-year-old maid brought to Malaysia by a company called TSE, had been found dead on July 17.

Seng Sithichey, the director of recruitment firm AP TSE & C Cambodia Resources Co, said yesterday one of its dom-estic workers had died on that date, but could not confirm her name.

Yip Soon Yew claimed people in the maids neighbourhood in Penang had seen her being beaten up and abused.

A day before her death, she allegedly passed on a note asking that if she died for no valid reason, her uncle in Cambodia be contacted, the writer added.

Seng Sithichey, however, disputed the workers age, saying she was 21. He said the comp-any had received a medical certificate showing she had died from pneumonia.

We co-operated with the police and health officials to check what happened to her, Seng Sithichey said.

I have to find justice for my worker if she died because of her employer, but she died because of disease.

The womans family had been notified, as had the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seng Sithichey said. The family had not filed a complaint, he said.

Mu Sochua, of the Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday Khmerization had previously reported the abuse of a domestic worker in Malaysia that had turned out to be true.

She vowed to investigate Khor Phaiks case with Malaysian government officials and rights groups, saying: It is of grave concern to me.

Huy Pich Sovann, an officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he was also investigating the case and mechanisms needed to be put in place to stop the systematic abuse of Cambodian dom-estic workers in Malaysia.

Aegile Fernandez, of the Malaysian rights group Tenaganita, said Ung Vantha, a Cambodian embassy official in Malaysia, had mentioned the case but not given details.

Ung Vantha and other offic-ials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua and rights groups are investigating the death of a teenage Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, amid allegations she was abused by her employer.

Concerns over the girls death were raised after the news-agg-regating website Khmerization received an email from a person identified as Yip Soon Yew, who alleged Khor Phaik, a 15-year-old maid brought to Malaysia by a company called TSE, had been found dead on July 17.

Seng Sithichey, the director of recruitment firm AP TSE & C Cambodia Resources Co, said yesterday one of its dom-estic workers had died on that date, but could not confirm her name.

Yip Soon Yew claimed people in the maids neighbourhood in Penang had seen her being beaten up and abused.

A day before her death, she allegedly passed on a note asking that if she died for no valid reason, her uncle in Cambodia be contacted, the writer added.

Seng Sithichey, however, disputed the workers age, saying she was 21. He said the comp-any had received a medical certificate showing she had died from pneumonia.

We co-operated with the police and health officials to check what happened to her, Seng Sithichey said.

I have to find justice for my worker if she died because of her employer, but she died because of disease.

The womans family had been notified, as had the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seng Sithichey said. The family had not filed a complaint, he said.

Mu Sochua, of the Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday Khmerization had previously reported the abuse of a domestic worker in Malaysia that had turned out to be true.

She vowed to investigate Khor Phaiks case with Malaysian government officials and rights groups, saying: It is of grave concern to me.

Huy Pich Sovann, an officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he was also investigating the case and mechanisms needed to be put in place to stop the systematic abuse of Cambodian dom-estic workers in Malaysia.

Aegile Fernandez, of the Malaysian rights group Tenaganita, said Ung Vantha, a Cambodian embassy official in Malaysia, had mentioned the case but not given details.

Ung Vantha and other offic-ials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Domestic Workers – Risks – ILO Convention – Cambodians in Malaysia

http://www.womensenews.org/story/labor/110716/recruiters-round-cambodians-work-in-malaysia

Cambodia Domestic Workers in Malaysia Can Find Abuses & Risks

By Amy Lieberman – WeNews Correspondent – July 18, 2011

Cambodian women who go abroad to Malaysia to work as domestic workers find the work fraught with abuse. Much of the mistreatment starts right away, in recruitment pre-departure training centers in Phnom Penh.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (WOMENSENEWS)–Cambodian recruitment agencies for domestic migrant workers backtracked on a decision announced in May and said at the end of June they would no longer send domestic workers to Kuwait, following complaints of lack of legal and human rights protection for migrant workers.

But that policy doesn’t extend east to Malaysia, which drew more than 16,000 Cambodian domestic workers almost all of them female in 2010.
Many workers come home complaining about pay that is withheld for at least four to seven months; work shifts that are unspecified and long; food shortages; and physical and verbal abuse, according to local human rights and labor rights organizations in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital.
Cambodian workers first experience a taste of life in Malaysia in the Phnom Penh pre-departure recruitment training centers, where they wait for an average three months for their visas to clear.
“Once you are inside the center, you cannot leave, even if you are sick,” said Moeun Tola, chief of the labor program unit at the Community Legal Education Center, based in Phnom Penh. “If you want to leave, you have to pay the agency a lot of money; $600 to $1,500 to cover costs for your training, food and housing. No one staying there has this kind of money.”
Recruited women are often divorced or widowed, placing them in low social and economic standing in their communities that leaves them particularly vulnerable to abuse.
Deaths and Escape Attempts
Two women have died in training centers since 2010, while more than 10 women have escaped. In early 2011, a woman broke both her legs after she jumped from a center’s third-story window. These high-profile cases were reported in both national and international media.
Prak Srey Mom, 29, said in an interview with Women’s eNews that she escaped from a Top Manpower Co., Ltd, center on May 19, 2011, two weeks before her scheduled departure for Malaysia. She had spent the past two months in one room she shared with 20 other trainees. She was hungry most of the time, she said, but remained lured by the promise of earning up to $250 monthly in Malaysia during the typical two-year work period. Then she spoke with a returned worker who visited the center.
“The girl who came back from Malaysia said that she still had no money, that she was treated badly and I should be careful,” said Prak, who goes by her last name followed by her first name like most Cambodians, through a Khmer translator.
Days after the conversation, Prak snuck past the center’s guards and climbed down from the building’s roof. She successfully fled, but remains concerned for her sister, who was in the same center and was denied permission to go home and care for her sick children.
Representatives for Top Manpower and the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agency, both based in Phnom Penh, did not respond to requests for comment on their treatment of recruited workers.
The Cambodian Ministry of Labor has closed down a few pre-departure training centers, but not any companies themselves, said Ya Navuth, executive director of Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility, or CARAM, a nongovernmental organization that does outreach work with prospective migrant workers.
Expanding Opportunities
Opportunities for Cambodian domestic workers in Malaysia have expanded rapidly since 2008, when Indonesia stopped sending migrant workers there because of human rights abuse allegations. Only 2,654 Cambodian domestic workers went to Malaysia that year, according to the U.S. State Department.
There are now more than 40 recruitment agencies in Cambodia, which all follow a basic formula.
“They target the poorest among the poor,” said Moeun of the Community Legal Education Center. “They say you can earn $180 a month, and if you pass a basic test your family automatically gets $50 and a 50 kg [bag] of rice. So, for a very poor family living in a small village, when they hear all of this, it is no problem for their daughter to have to spend a few months in the center.”
CARAM conducts regular public forums on migration in targeted villages and in training centers. The frank sessions rarely persuade prospective workers to consider another option.
“We tell them that it will be very difficult, but they still choose to go,” said Ya. “If they stay here, they can’t find a job.”
So Tay, 53, has worked in Malaysia in three capacities since 1999, and has spent time in recruitment centers both in Cambodia and holding centers for workers in Malaysia.
Three Trips
On her first trip, So became sick and was sent back to Cambodia after four months without any pay. On her second trip, in 2001, she was forced to work more than 18 hours a day and was physically abused.
During her last work trip in 2005, she tried to quit and was placed in a detention center run by a Malaysian-counterpart agency. She remained there for three months, before being flown back to Cambodia without any money.
So now lives in Phnom Penh and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic intestinal problems that prevent her from holding a steady job.
Bruno Maltoni, project coordinator for the International Organization for Migration’s office in Phnom Penh, which does not work directly with domestic migrant workers, says he does not think all migrant domestic workers have negative experiences.
“There’s a lot of hammering in the media about this and a lot of emotions, which is quite right, but I don’t think it is as widespread and as common as it is made out to be,” he said.
He said that by 2020 he expects to see at least a 4-percent increase in the migrant work force in Cambodia. Thailand is another major destination for migrant domestic Cambodian workers.

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Monday, 11 July 2011

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

Photo: Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer

Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake, (File photo).

The city develops with the rich. But we are poor.

The controversial development of Boeung Kak lake saw a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, despite months or even years of protest from villagers who said they didnt agree with a company buyout or resettlement plans.

The development company, Shukaku, Inc., which is owned by a ruling party senator, held its groundbreaking ceremony even as Phnom Penh authorities announced they would not consider a proposal by villagers to have a portion of the development set aside for them.

The ceremony marked a defeat for residents who have helplessly watched Shukaku pump fill from the bottom of the Tonle Sap into the lake, sending a rising tide of water into neighborhoods and replacing a massive body of fresh water in the north of the capital with sand.

Steadily evicted, bought out or flooded from their homes, angry residents have made numerous protests in front of City Hall and most recently filed complaints to the US Embassy, the EU and the British Embassy.

Im disappointed in the local authorities, for we have always believed in them to solve this land dispute for us, said Su Sophal, a 33-year-old resident of the lakeside community. But now the city has denied my proposal. I have no belief left in the city. I do not know that I can depend on someone to help solve this problem.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said the city had not made leadership mistakes, but he acknowledged there remained complications for villagers who refuse to leave.

We will continue to solve some remaining problems with the residents at Boeung Kak lake, he said. My officials and I have not done anything wrong from the principle of government.

Lao Van, a representative of Shukaku, said at the ceremony the company had followed its development plan since 2007.

The master plan for Boeung Kak development includes a trade center, a modern supermarket, conference hall, entertainment, nightclub, hotel, university, hospital, residences, pleasant and attractive places and infrastructure, he said.

Such plans were little consolation for villagers like Pol Srey Pov, 36, who said she considered herself a legal landholder whose rights were violated by the citys 99-year-lease with the developer. She and others had hoped to have a plot of land 4 meters by 16 meters on some 15 hectares of the 133-hectare development.

A HARD ROAD TO DEMOCRACY

Analysis: A hard road to democracy

Monday, 11 July 2011 15:00

Mu Sochua

The Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France granted an exclusive interview to The Phnom Penh Post on the eve of his two-day visit to Cambodia last month.

Fillon was totally correct to remind Cambodia that democratic institutions must benefit everyone. They are essential pillars of democracy.

The challenge of building these institutions begins with the political will of leaders who have been chosen by their people to lead.

Most important of all, the true challenge is the commitment to an inclusive system of governance and mechanisms that allows voices to be heard and differences of opinion to be brought to the attention of those in charge.

Judging by these basic principles of democracy, Cambodia has a long way to go. It begins with the practice of winner takes all at the National Assembly.

Since the 2008 general election which European Union observers rated as far below international standards the Cambodian Peoples Party has controlled 90 of the 123 seats.

During each parliamentary debate, senior CPP members of parliament refer to themselves as: we, the 90 seats and remind other elected representatives that the people of Cambodia have given them the power to lead the country.

They truly believe it is their full right to conduct business without any obligation to include the opposition, unless for ceremonial reasons. Such a mindset is a serious barrier to democratisation.

Democratic institutions must be sustained by public officials and civil servants whose expertise, experience and knowledge ensure that services to the people are rendered equally and without political interference. Elected leaders and public civil servants have one thing in common: the obligation to maintain a high sense of ethics.

This is another challenge to democratisation: the heavy and active presence of judges and court officials who are members of the central committee of the ruling party.

Like civil servants in all other public institutions, court officials must pledge their allegiance to the CPP.

Every weekend, officials from each ministry and department join CPP working groups to pay visits to the grassroots, using state resources and often with gifts for the rural poor. This system of patronage is totally contrary to a strict code of conduct and respect for ethics.

In the past 20 years, Lithuania, a small country that spent 50 years under a Soviet regime, has built strong democratic roots, a striving civil society and a vibrant multi-party system.

The president of the Lithuanian parliament is a woman, and the first vice-president is a woman from the opposition party.

The parliamentary commissions on finance and audit are reserved for the opposition for check and balance, and the opposition leader is first to have the floor during debates.

Where is the hope for democratisation in Cambodia? That light of hope shines each time our villagers stand up to defy arrests.

Networks of the opposition are tightly woven in the countryside, despite the absence of their leader. Workers have called out for general strikes for better wages.

Women take an active part in that grassroots movement.

The women of Beoung Kak lake who were re-arrested last Thursday are part of the hope, and their fearless fight for dignity is joined by other victims of injustice throughout Cambodia.

The only way to stop those people fighting for justice is for the ruling party to realise that sharing power is a must.

And it must begin with dialogue and with the recognition of peoples rights and freedom.

Oppressive regimes will always come to an end. The world movement for change has proven so.

More than 1,400 opposition members were arrested at the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Is this a sign of an Asian storm coming?

[Huffington Post] Dominique Strauss-Kahn: So Much for Us to Learn

The Strauss-Kahn case is not about winning or losing, but opening a dialogue on rape, violence and gender.

The events unfolding in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF accused of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid, are both surprising and surprisingly not surprising. The New York Times first reported claims that there were serious problems with the prosecution relating to the credibility of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, who is originally from Guinea.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

Eve has helped me clear my mind: should someone who lied in the past be raped because she lied in the past? Is the trial about rape? There was clear evidence of sexual assault.

Mu Sochua

Female Candidates May Be Key to 2012 Elections

By Abby Seiff. The Cambodia Daily. June 20, 2011.

For more than a year, Kim Nath Sim has been traveling the country training ordinary women– farmers, housewives, shopkeepers– in the fine art of becoming SRP politicians.

She runs classes on public speaking and fundraising, and makes sure the women are schooled on issues and know which ones matter most in their communities.

Training in progress

Nominated to attend the training by district or provincial officials, the women have discernable potential. But they still often enter the training quiet or uneasy.

If all goes well, however, they will exit as potential candidates for next June’s commune elections.

Read the full article here: