TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014 Successful People Read The Post 4000 RIEL I S S U E N U M B E R 2 0 3 2 Sam Reeves JOKO Widodo, Indonesia’s first leader from outside the political and military elite, was sworn in as president yesterday and reached out to political foes to seek sup- port for his ambitious reform agenda. After the inauguration, Wi dodo capped hi s remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum by travelling through the streets of the c
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  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014 Successful People Read The  Post  4000 RIEL     I    S    S    U    E    N    U    M    B    E    R    2    0    3    2 Sam Reeves JOKO Widodo, Indonesia’s first leader from outside the political and military elite,  was sworn in as president  yesterday and reached out to political foes to seek sup-port for his ambitious reform agenda. After the inauguration,  Widodo capped his remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum by travelling through the streets of the capital Jakarta in a horse-drawn carriage, with tens of thou-sands of supporters cheer-ing and shouting his name.  Widodo, a 53-year-old former furniture exporter known by his nickname Jokowi, won the presidency in July after a close race against controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto. The former Jakarta gover-nor, who won legions of Laignee Barron LONG considered the friendlier and less exploita-tive option for overseas Cambodian migrants, South Korea is now being slammed by Amnesty International for a number of abuses afflicting its migrant-domi-nated agriculture sector.The 20,000 foreign work-ers fuelling South Korea’s farming industry regularly encounter intimidation, vio-lence, excessive working hours, forced labour and no rest days, according to an  Amnesty report released  yesterday. And because of a “flawed” work permit scheme, the migrants have few options for recourse. “[South Korea] is clearly intent on creating a very compliant, stable work-force,” said Norma Kang Muico, Asia-Pacific migrant-rights researcher at Amnesty International. “The system is really load-ed against the worker and against complaining or changing jobs.” Widely perceived as an exemplary exception amid a region notorious for poor migrant labour laws, South Korea’s Employment Permit System eschews private recruiters in favour of govern-ment agreed-upon quotas. Employers struggling to find national workers can hire foreigners through the government-run system from 15 Asian countries, the top senders being Cambodia,  Vietnam and Indonesia, according to government immigration statistics.  An estimated 8,800  Widodo enters   office in Jakarta S Korean farming industry   slammed Kevin Ponniah and Taing Vida  A  S A group of Cam-bodian officials reportedly departed for Australia and asylum seeker detention cen-tres on the Pacific island of Nauru last night, the Interior Ministry said that refugees  would be given a brutally “real-istic” summation of contempo-rary Cambodia before they choose to come here.Under an agreement signed last month, asylum seekers on Nauru found to be genuine refugees – who have been told they will never be allowed to settle on the Australian main-land – will be given the choice to relocate to Cambodia instead, with resettlement costs to be met by Australian taxpayers.But Interior Ministry spokes-man Khieu Sopheak made it clear yesterday that the govern-ment would not be pulling its punches with the refugees about life in Cambodia, leading observers to question whether its professed desire to engage in On second thought . . . Gov’t officials vow to give Nauru refugees honest living assessment CONTINUED – PAGE 14 FUEL SMUGGLING IN INDONESIA RAMPANT BUSINESS – PAGE 8 LITTLE APPLE  : THE POP SONG SWEEPING CHINA LIFESTYLE – PAGE 17 BRONCO’S PEYTON MANNING MAKES HISTORY SPORT – BACK PAGECONTINUED – PAGE 2CONTINUED – PAGE 2 Authorities attack a villager from Preah Vihear province yesterday in Phnom Penh after a protest regarding an ongoing land dispute turned violent.  VIREAK MAI No pain, no cane STORY > 3  National 2 THE PHNOM PENH POST OCTOBER 21, 2014 Cambodians exploited in Korea Continued from page 1  Cambodian workers were sent to South Korea in 2013, ac-cording to Cambodia’s Minis-try of Labour.But while it looks good on paper, “this work scheme di-rectly contributes to human and labour rights violations by severely restricting migrant  workers’ ability to change jobs and challenge abusive prac-tices by employers”, says the  Amnesty report. Employees in the agriculture industry are omitted from key labour laws protecting most of the country’s workforce, and though employers can sack the hired hands at any time. Employees who try to change their job or address an abusive situation are often penalised in a way that threatens their immigration status.Under the permit system, South Korea allows migrant  workers to switch jobs a maxi-mum of three times, though any change eliminates the possibility of a coveted, nearly five-year visa extension. “A complaint about an abu-sive situation should never count against the worker, but I’ve never come across any cas-es where the complaint filed doesn’t count against them,” Muico said. “It is only work-ers who are in a very desperate situation when the abuse has become too awful that they  will go to a job centre and try to change their employer.”The majority of the dozens of migrant farm workers inter-viewed by Amnesty had racked up debts equivalent to more than two years’ annual salary in their home countries to se-cure the overseas employment, a sum that made them loath to leave a situation. Working on a farm in South Korea, they could earn a monthly salary of $1,158, or over 10 times what could be earned from the same  work in Cambodia. “I used to have a small prob-lem with my employer, but I did not want to make it into a huge problem because I need this job in Korea,” said Roth Mony Muth, a 27-year-old from Svay Rieng. “Every day my em-ployer said I was not working hard enough and blamed me. I apologised and tried to do bet-ter until he forgave me.”  Amnesty’s report found that on average, the interviewed migrants worked more than 50 hours over their contracted amounts, none where ad-equately – if at all – compen-sated for overtime, and no one  was granted annual leave. Few received a single paid day off. Sometimes the workers also faced violence, including beat-ings and sexual assault, ac-cording to Amnesty. “One day at work, my back  was hurting so much that I sat down for a while . . . my manag-er . . . ordered me to get up and continue working. So I did and began cutting . . . incorrectly,” said a 25-year-old Cambo-dian worker interviewed in the report. “The manager’s  younger brother. . .held me by my neck while the man-ager beat me. They both then punched me all over my body and kicked me.”Despite the rampant abuses, few file complaints. Labour groups in Cambodia, including  Adhoc and the Community Le-gal Education Center, could re-call only a single instance, near-ly a decade ago, when a migrant returned with any objections. Migrant workers who want to file a complaint in South Korea find the burden of proof becomes their responsibil-ity and, if they want a place to sleep and food to eat, they have to continue working for their abusive employers while the case is “investigated”.“In almost all cases there are no interpreters . . .so unless the  worker is fluent in Korean, it is very difficult to get informa-tion about a very complicated legal system,” said Mikyung Ryu, international director of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. “The employers treat their workers like slaves  with impunity.” According to government statistics cited by Amnesty, only 1 per cent of investigated complaints in which the rights of migrant workers were found to be violated resulted in any legal sanction.“If South Koreans were trapped in a similar cycle of abuse, there would rightly be outraged,” said Muico. ADDITION-AL REPORTING BY SEN DAVID Workers put harvested ginseng into sacks at a field in South Korea late last year. A new report released by Amnestry International alleges Cambodian migrant workers were among those being exploited in South Korea’s farming industry.  BLOOMBERG Gov’t officials to visit refugees in Nauru Continued from page 1 “humanitarian” resettlement  was genuine. “This is not a trip to advertise [and] to attract tourists to Cam-bodia, this trip is to tell them about Cambodia,” he told the Post  yesterday. “About life, about culture, about the history of Cambodia and where we came from. For example, the three  years, eight months and 20 days [of the Khmer Rouge regime], how we suffered. The reality of Cambodia, not the advertising.“Cambodia is like a developing country, not a developed coun-try like where [they] want to stay. They want to go to Australia.” While a reliable source with close links to the refugee office said a group of at least five offi-cials would be leaving for Aus-tralia last night and later Nauru, Sopheak denied this.Sok Phal, head of the ministry’s immigration department, also claimed that travel plans were  yet to be finalised. Suong Sok, a senior official at the refugee office, said the gov-ernment was waiting on Aus-tralia “before we can send our officers there”. “I truly have no information about this right now,” he said. An official that declined to be named admitted, however, that plans were highly “secretive”. Spokespeople for Australia’s immigration minister and the embassy did not respond to a request for comment. A meeting scheduled for today between acting opposition lead-er Kem Sokha and the Australian embassy about the deal has been postponed by the embassy because the relevant officials are away, Sokha’s cabinet chief Muth  Youttha said. Denise Coghlan of the Jesuit Refugee Service was pleased the government would be honest  with refugees on Nauru.“I certainly think this is a good approach to tell the story as it really is. And if the refugees decide, well, OK, we’d rather take our chances in Cambodia than stay on Nauru then it’s up to them,” she said.Coghlan added that those who are “really motivated to give it a go” would have the best chances of succeeding in the Kingdom. “The agreement does say that they can be reunited with their families and also that there is a possibility of getting out to another place,” she said.  A protest on Friday against the deal saw hundreds march through Phnom Penh. Some demonstrators expressed fears that refugees could take scarce jobs and even pose a security risk.Cambodian Center for Human Rights chairman Ou Virak said that the government appears to be “starting to understand how unpopular the deal is” and would be more receptive to xenophobic concerns than those related to human rights.“I think the Cambodian gov-ernment is now trying to play down the deal as much as it can and also making sure it will get that money. I think they are probably hoping that not many refugees are going to come any- way,” he said. Australia is giving Cambodia $35 million in extra aid over the next four years as a sweetener to the arrangement. Although the agreement stipulates that how many refugees eventually come  will be up to Cambodia – which has indicated it will take far few-er than the 1,000 initially expect-ed – if very few decide to come, the money won’t be forthcom-ing, said Virak.“They could get the initial $10 million or so. They aren’t going to get the next instalment if refugees aren’t coming. I think Cambodia is actually trying to back down on this deal without appearing to cave into pressure.”Separately, the International Organization for Migration will this week assess the scheme. “Our director-general will [then] decide whether or not  we’ll be [involved] in resettle-ment and on what level,” IOM spokesman Joe Lowry said. I used to have a small problem  with my employer, but I did not  want to make it a huge problem because I need this job  National 3 THE PHNOM PENH POST OCTOBER 21, 2014  Another protest turns bloody  Pech Sotheary L  AND protesters from Preah Vihear province who came to Phnom Penh seeking a resolution to their disputes were brutally beaten by se-curity forces yesterday as they attempted to deliver petitions to Prime Minister Hun Sen. About 100 people representing 333 fami-lies in Choam Ksan district’s Kantuot com-mune and Tbeng Meanchey district’s Pal-hal commune marched yesterday morning to the Chinese, Russian and Australian em-bassies before attempting to deliver a peti-tion to Hun Sen’s cabinet. Within metres of the premier’s home, the protesters were met by barricades guarded by dozens of police and district security guards, armed with batons, stun guns and shields. “I do not have a house to live in, there is no school or hospital to go to; they have been cleared. Please give land to all of us,” 5-year-old Mey Kanha shouted tearfully through a loud speaker.  When the group attempted to break through the barricades, the security forces chased them away, violently attacking men,  women, children and monks, and destroy-ing a tuk-tuk and protest paraphernalia. Rights group Licadho, which treated many of the injured protesters, said yes-terday evening that at least 18 people had been injured to varying degrees in the vio-lence, with an 18-year-old man who had been beaten on the head by the guards sus-taining the most serious injuries. “When disproportionate violence of this kind is used against peaceful protesters, it perpetuates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in which people are afraid to claim their rights,” said Licadho director Naly Pilorge.But City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche defended the security guards’ actions.The protesters “did not get through the barricades normally; they mixed pure wa-ter with acid and threw it on the authorities,  which is against the law”, he said. “A hand-ful of people who were not the real victims used bad language to insult the top leaders. It was not a protest, it was an incitement to topple [the government], so we had to strengthen the law.” he said.No security guards were reported injured and Dimanche was unable to explain his allegations of acid-throwing, which were quickly dismissed by the protesters.“We did throw water at them but without any acid . . . and we also did not scold [Hun Sen], we only asked him to help intervene in the land disputes for us,” said commu-nity representative Phan Phoeun. In a more peaceful protest, more than 200 people from eight communities in dan-ger of losing land due to a railroad project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) protested outside of its offices.“We will help bring all of your questions or issues that come through ADB to the government and companies involved [so they can be] discussed and resolved,” said  ADB country director Eric Sidgwick. AD-DITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA AND ALICE CUDDY A bloodied villager from Preah Vihear province is escorted away from a protest in Phnom Penh yesterday after he was hit in the head by authorities.  VIREAK MAI Parties yet to agree onpart of NEC draft law  Meas Sokchea HOPES that the ruling and opposition parties would final-ly reach full accord on a new National Election Committee draft law were dashed yester-day as talks foundered on the qualifications the secretary-general of the new institution must possess. After a meeting that lasted more than two hours, Cam-bodian People’s Party work-ing group chief Bin Chhin and his Cambodia National Rescue Party counterpart Kuoy Bunroeun said the par-ties had reached “90 per cent” agreement.“But regarding the secretary-general and deputy secretar-ies-general [of the NEC], we have disagreed on the qualifi-cations [they should have],” Chhin said.The CPP wants to disallow candidates who have no elec-tion management experience and possess any citizenship other than Khmer. It also wants candidates to be at least 30 years old and hold a university degree in a specific field, such as law, diplomacy or economics. The CNRP, on the other hand,  wants an age limit of 25, no sub- ject requirement for the univer-sity degree, no requirement that the candidate have election experience and for dual citizens to be considered.“I want to have stability after the next election and no crises like in previous elections, that’s  why we need to talk further details,” Bunroeun said. “But there is no real problem because we have many formu-las to choose from.”Separately, a Japanese gov-ernment team will arrive today to follow up on a survey con-ducted in May about election reform needs in Cambodia. The team will present its findings to the CPP-CNRP working group during the visit.Hun Sen officially asked Japan for electoral reform assistance last November as the opposition raged over poll irregularities.The NEC has also finished its annual 20-day voter registra-tion period. According to cur-rent secretary-general Tep Nytha, 148,592 new voters were registered and 59,656 names  were deleted.But election reform groups have criticised the recent regis-tration blitz as a waste of time and money given that the new NEC will likely have to repeat the process under the new law.  National 4 THE PHNOM PENH POST OCTOBER 21, 2014  Census arrests  Vietnamese citizens held after raid  T WELVE Vietnamese na-tionals were arrested and temporarily detained on Sunday amid on ongoing crack-down against foreigners living illegally in Cambodia, said Major Seng Veansa, a police officer for the Interior Ministry’s immigra-tion department yesterday. According to Veansa, the eight men and four women were found after a raid on a Vietnamese coffee shop on Street 105 in the capital’s Chamkarmon district.“They were arrested because they stayed and worked without proper documents in Cambodia,” he said.Hem Theng, head of the im-migration department, said the arrests were part of the current ‘foreigner census’ accounting for non-citizens living and working in the Kingdom.“For those foreigners who are living and working illegally here, we arrest and penalise them at the immigration department before sending them back to their countries.”Theng added that the cam-paign had been implemented in 20 provinces and cities out of a planned 25 so far. BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA Tycoons at heart of protests May Titthara  N EARLY 100 people from separate dis-tricts in Pursat province joined forces yesterday to seek a resolution to long-running land disputes with two well-connected companies.The villagers filed petitions at the provincial hall demand-ing a resolution to their dis-putes with Pheapimex Group, owned by the wife of ruling party lawmaker Lao Meng Khin, and MDS International, run by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s adviser Try Pheap.The Post   reported on the find-ings of an unpublished study earlier this month claiming that Pheap, a tycoon with in-terests ranging from casinos to cassava, ran a logging scheme involving the transport and sale of laundered rosewood amounting to $220 million in profit over three years. Members of Pursat’s Veal  Veng district charge Pheap’s company with seizing land in 2010 that mostly belongs to veterans’ wives, according to community representative Prak Sophal.“We demand our land back for farming and we need them to issue land titles to avoid it being appropriated again,” she said.Pursat’s deputy governor, Khoy Rida, received the peti-tions and promised to settle the dispute from Kroko district against Pheapimex on October 23, and the one in Veal Veng by November or December.Pheapimex was granted over 315 hectares in economic land concessions (ELCs) from the government in Pursat and Kampong Chhnang to grow acacias, cassava and other ag-ricultural products.Even though the provincial government has promised to settle the matter soon, Kroko community representative Lan Sim said she doesn’t trust the system.“I still think his promise is  just a pretext, because this has been going on for years and we never see any resolutions, so I  will sleep in front of the pro-vincial hall until October 23 to make sure he keeps his prom-ise”, she said.“If not, we will go to Phnom Penh.”To put an end to protracted land disputes, on August 18 Hun Sen said he would take companies to task and create a national commission to evalu-ate how ELCs given to private companies. Protesting villagers sit in front of the Pursat provincial hall yesterday as Pursat deputy governor Ty Kimtong addresses their concerns over an ongoing land dispute.  PHOTO SUPPLIED Labour talks ‘show promise’ Mom Kunthear and Sean Teehan THE first of 10 planned nego-tiation sessions between union, manufacturer and government officials on the minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment sector  yesterday showed promise, several who attended the meet-ing said. After the meeting of the work-ing group, which includes nine members from each stakeholder group, participants were intro-duced to each other and given data to consider.“From my point of view, I think it’s good that the government has brought both parties to the table to discuss,” said Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.The minimum garment wage is $100 per month. Groups are requesting raises of up to $77. When the working group takes its first day off on Sunday, about 250 people plan to protest out-side the ministry seeking to change the country’s stringent union registration process, which “makes it difficult to create a union,” said Sar Mora, head of the Cambodian Food and Serv-ice Workers’ Federation.
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