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10 May 2021

Sorn Sarath, CamboJA

Cambodia: Workers living in lockdown areas protest to demand financial support from govt. and rent waivers as they struggle to earn incomes

"Struggling workers in quarantine zones demand rent waivers for COVID-19 crisis", 10 May 2021

Residents in one of Phnom Penh’s few remaining quarantined neighborhoods launched a small protest … in the city’s southwestern Meanchey district to demand subsidized rent while they’re legally unable to go to work.

The protest saw dozens of factory workers gathered on Veng Sreng Boulevard in the Damnak Thom3 village of Stung Meanchey III commune. Their demand comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday implored landlords to suspend rental fees for workers during the ongoing lockdown of some areas, a measure intended to halt the spread of COVID-19…

Among the renters is Sdoeung Seang, a garment worker who rents a room in Damnak Thom3 village. Seang told CamboJA that people in his area pay $70-80 a month to rent a room and that he himself had asked his landlord, a property owner named Krouch Darak, to reduce his rental fee. After some negotiation, Darak said he’d get back to Seang with an answer ...

Hun Sen had also asked the state-owned utilities services Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) and Phnom Penh Water Supply Autonomous (PPWSA), the second of which is listed on the Cambodian Securities Exchange, to find ways to adapt their fees to help workers stuck in red zones.

PPWSA … announced it would waive its water rates for March, April and May for 870 rental housing units only in the current red zones…

Ath Thorn, president of Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC) said that, so far, most landlords have not waived rental fees because the private sector has no legal obligation to do so. This leaves property owners to decide whether to follow the government’s appeal…