Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a selfie with garment workers during a visit to a factory in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a selfie with garment workers during a visit to a factory in Phnom Penh yesterday. Facebook

PM warns garment factory workers of CNRP

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday continued his bid to woo the Kingdom’s thousands-strong bloc of garment workers, reminding workers of the perils of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s proposal to leverage an EU embargo on garment imports to improve the country’s political and human rights environment.

The premier has for the last two weeks met with factory employees and workers, doling out populist benefits in what many consider to be a campaign to garner support for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party among a voter base long considered to side with the opposition. Recent talking points have included free bus rides in Phnom Penh, free health insurance, higher maternity pay and a monthly minimum wage of at least $160 for 2018.

While the premier suggested a $168 minimum wage on his Facebook page – a $15 increase from the current $153 – he has since stuck to referring to a figure of “at least $160” in his speeches to workers.

Yesterday, Hun Sen reminded workers that a “traitor” had suggested that investors stay away from the country and refrain from buying garments from the Kingdom – a critical sector for the economy – a thinly-veiled reference to a suggestion made by self-exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy last year.

“This is a traitor person, who wants to destroy the benefits of his own people,” the premier said, speaking to workers at Vattanac Industrial Park.

Prime Minister Hun Sen tries his hand at ironing pants during a visit with garment workers as part of his ongoing campaign to bolster support in the sector.
Prime Minister Hun Sen tries his hand at ironing pants during a visit with garment workers as part of his ongoing campaign to bolster support in the sector. Facebook

He then took aim at the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party – which he called the “three don’ts” party for its admonishments not to donate, invest or buy from Cambodia – accusing it of using workers to bolster its post-election demonstrations in 2013, and asking workers to remember who had in fact worked for them.

“All wage increases and other benefits did not come from the other group. It came from workers like yourself, employers and the CPP government ruling the country’’ he said.

Neither Rainsy nor CNRP representatives Yi Sovann, Yem Ponhearith or Eng Chhay Eang could be reached yesterday.

Hun Sen yesterday also announced a nine-year tax exemption for garment factories, with Ken Loo, spokesman for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, saying that while a similar tax window already existed in the investment law, garment factories only received three to four years’ tax exemption.

But if the nine-year tax window were to extend retroactively and for new investments that would be “excellent news”, he added. “The wages have to go up, but it is important he is aware of the challenges and the government is helping enterprises reduce costs.”

Even as the premier was touting his contributions to the sector, 64 workers at H&M supplier Berry Apparel in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district fainted yesterday morning, with Free Trade Union member Seng Sinuon saying one worker fainted because of low blood sugar, causing the others to collapse upon seeing her fall.

While Berry Apparel representatives could not be reached, H&M Global Press Officer Ulrica Bogh-Lind said their local team was monitoring the situation and taking the incident “very seriously”.

“The factory management are working with a team from the NSSF at the factory to identify the cause of this incident.”

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to