Cambodia closes maid centres



Little hope of helpers coming here after 36 training agencies are shut down


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KUALA LUMPUR: All Cambodian training centres for domestic work-ers bound for Malaysia have been shut down and the maid's sent home, leaving little hope of any maids coming here from the country. Malaysia employers and agencies, which have already paid for the maids, are now in a quandary.


The 36 centres in Cambodia had been ordered by the authorities there to be shut down until a mechanism to be shut down until a mechanism was found to protect the maids, said the Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap). The maids, who had returned to their villages, include the 3,500 who had already been "booked" and paid for by prospective employers.


On Oct 14, it was announced that Cambodia would no longer send its workers here. The decision came as a severe blow to local maid agencies. Despite several meetings with Cambodian authorities to appeal for the 3,500 maids to be sent over, Pikap president Datuk Raza Zulkepley Dahalan said there was still no indication of whether the maids would be released.


"During our recent visit to the country, we found there was a directive from the Cambodian Government for all the training centres to be shut down," he said at a press conference here yesterday.It was reported that Malaysia employers and maid agencies had paid over RM20mil to their counter-parts in Cambodia for maids and the fees were now "stuck in the country.


  "We urge employers not to pressure the maid agencies as we are stuck as well.


  '"Please give us time to resolve this matter," he said.


He added that Pikap and the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies would be setting up shelters for maids who were mistreated here. He said this was t show the Cambodian Government that Malaysia was committed to protecting the welfare of their maids.


"We plan to set up three shelters, starting with one here," he said, adding that Pikap would also be setting up a mediation centre.