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Asia Insight

Minimum wage politicking stings employers in Southeast Asia

Rush to woo voters raises the risk of layoffs and factory relocations

KENTARO IWAMOTO, Nikkei staff writer | China

SINGAPORE -- After more than three decades as Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen added a new routine to his schedule last August: visits to the garment and footwear factories that employ some 700,000 citizens nationwide.

Sometimes he has lunch with the workers. He is happy to pose with them for selfies. And he has been dangling a carrot before them, in the form of a higher minimum wage.

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