Archive for March 23rd, 2007

Thursday, 22.3.2007: Cambodia Wants More Japanese Investors And Tourists To Come

Posted on 23 March 2007. Filed under: Week 500 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 500

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 20 March at the Council of Ministers, a delegation of Asian-Japanese investors led by Mr. Vong Samang [responsible for investments of an Asian-Japanese center, the economist Dr. Vong Samnang is also an Adjunct Academic Staff of the Mekong University], held a meeting to discuss their work with Mr. Sok An, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Council Minister, to understand the real situation of investments in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The delegation consists of investors in a number of countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Hong Kong, and also includes reporters and representatives of the Ministry of International Trade and Economy of Japan.

“The mission of the delegation to Cambodia is to understand the real situation and to seek opportunities to invest in Cambodia. At this discussion, the Deputy Prime Minister Sok An extended a welcome to the members of the delegation who have the intention to invest in the Kingdom of Cambodia, a country with peace and democracy. Now the fields of commerce, tourism, and investment have been increasing in Cambodia.

“The Deputy Prime Minister requested the delegation to look for opportunities of doing business to export agricultural products and processed goods, because Cambodia has much potential for agriculture and it has an international port which makes it easy for export. As for the sector of tourism, the Deputy Prime Minister Sok An told the delegation that every year the number of tourists increases by approximately 30 percent, and in previous years, Japanese tourists coming to Cambodia were leading. But at present, Korean tourists are leading.

“Mr. Sok An said that at present, in regard to the sector of energy and power in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the price of electricity is a little bit high, but in the future, the Royal Government of Cambodia hopes that the price of electricity will decrease, because at present, Cambodia is building many hydro-power plants.

“In the afternoon, the delegation had an audience and discussed their work with Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Council of Ministers to understand the climate of investment in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“According to Mr. Eng Sophaleth, an assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, Mr. Vong Samang told Samdech Prime Minister that the mission of the Japanese investment delegation, which came to visit Cambodia at this time, was supported by JETRO from many countries such as the Japanese JETRO, the Thai JETRO, the Singaporean JETRO, the Vietnamese JETRO, and so on. The director of this Asian-Japanese center asked for recommendations from Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen to indicate the climate of investment in Cambodia for the whole delegation. Related to the visit of Samdech Hun Sen who will come to Japan in the near future, representatives of the Japanese delegation requested Samdech Hun Sen to say what Cambodia wants.

“During the discussion, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen briefly informed the whole delegation about the Cambodian history and of eight priority areas that the Government of Cambodia has set out. Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia wants that more Japanese investors come to Cambodia, because Japan is a country that provides much aid to Cambodia, and it is also the one country which provides more assistance to Cambodia than any other country. First, the Japanese investment in Cambodia is small. Second, Samdech Prime Minister requested the provision of credits to Cambodia, because Japan has one kind of credit which a low interest rate of 0.01%. Samdech Prime Minister confirmed that Cambodia wants this kind of credit very much to help encourage Cambodia to move ahead on the road of development. Third, Samdech Prime Minister said that he wants Japan to provide grants to build the bridge [over the Mekong river, on the main road to Vietnam] soon, because now the last stage of research might have been completed already, and this bridge is a life line of Cambodian economy, and it is also one of the Asian Highway bridges. Fourth, Samdech Prime Minister said that he wants the Japanese Prime Minister to pay a formal visit to Cambodia, because 50 years ago, the former Japanese Prime Minister, who is the grandfather of the current prime minister, paid a visit to Cambodia. Therefore, Samdech Prime Minister wants to have the 50th anniversary visit of the Japanese Prime Minister, who is the grandchild of the former Japanese Prime Minister.

“In regard to the climate of investment, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen added that the climate of investment in Cambodia is favorable for Japanese investors, and in the short run, he will pay a visit to Japan and sign agreements on the encouragement and protection of Japanese investors.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #5997, 22.3.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 March 2007

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #5997, 22.3.2007

  • Cambodia Wants More Japanese Investors And Tourists To Come
  • [More than one thousand] Khmer Muslims Held A Campaign Procession [in Phnom Penh] To Support The Cambodian People’s Party In The Elections
  • A Round-Table Meeting Was Held To Set Out Strategies For News Coverage Of The Khmer Rouge Trials [presided over by the Minister of Information and the Canadian Ambassador to Cambodia]

Moneaksekar, Vol.14, #3116, 22.3.2007

  • Three Trucks Of Yuon [Vietnamese] Soldiers Entered Khmer Territory While Cambodia Is Launching Commune Council Elections; It Made People Worried [Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea,Vol.15, #4242, 22.3.2007

  • Samdech Hun Sen Granted An Audience To An Ambassador Of Pope Benedict XVI [Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio; the ambassador is committed to help improve the livelihood of Cambodian people]
  • The US Ambassador Praised The Process Of Commune Council Elections In Cambodia [Mr. Joseph A. Mussomeli stated that during voter registration; he observed that the names of many citizens were registered; and the administrative tasks of the authorities, that are responsible for the elections, were going smoothly]

Reach Seima, Vol.2, #165, 21-22.3.2007

  • Foreign Judges Warn Of Walking Out Of The [Khmer Rouge Trial] Court Because Mr. Ky Tech, [president of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Created Problems [trying to charge high fees] For International Lawyers
  • Mr. Rong Chhun, [president of the Independent Teachers’ Association], Said That Students Were Forced By Some Parties Into Party Membership [he wrote to Kol Pheng, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports; that a number of political parties put pressure on school directors and teachers to force their students to participate and to support them]

Sakal, Vol.15, #3168, 22-23.3.2007

  • Angkor Wat Is In The Second Ranking In The World [temporary ranking of 21 international world heritage sites on the website, the final results of votes by Internet users in different countries to be made public on 7 July 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal]

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Wednesday, 21.3.2007: The Ministry Of Labor And Vocational Training Planned To Commit Corrupt Practices Over The Case Of Illegal Khmer Laborers In Thailand

Posted on 23 March 2007. Filed under: Week 500 |

Apologies from the editor

A late transmission of some translations on 21.3.2007 resulted in delays, and we are still derailed from our normal schedule of publishing something every day. I hope we will have caught up with normal routine at the latest by the end of the week.

Norbert Klein


The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 500

“Because of being poor, Khmer citizens left their home country to look for work in a foreign country. Even though these Khmer citizens met difficulties, they decided to be illegal Khmer laborers because of problems of their livelihood.

“There are approximately 20,000 illegal poor Khmer laborers in Thailand. But the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training issued an announcement, dated 21 January 2007, which leads to exploitation of Khmer laborers in foreign countries. The ministry commits corrupt practices not only in the country, but also in a foreign country, like in Thailand.

“The ministry’s announcement allowed to take money from illegal Khmer laborers who are working in Thailand, at the rate of Baht 1,500 [approx. US$] per person, to give them identity cards to live temporarily in Thailand. On 17 May 2005, a meeting was held to issue identity cards for illegal Khmer laborers in Thailand, by taking Baht 1,500 from each laborer; at that time there were 72 Khmer laborers registered.

“The Khmer laborers went, assuming to have their names registered to get permits of temporary residence in Thailand, but the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, cooperating with the Khmer Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, did a bad job, which resulted in a situation that the Khmer laborers’ names were not legally registered. The letter No. 173 from Minister Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reported to the head of the government about the failure of registering the names, and issuing identity cards for the illegal Khmer laborers in Thailand to stay temporarily in Thailand, because only 72 Khmer laborers were registered. The announcement by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, signed by Mr. Seng Lamnove [position not specified], required to work to register illegal Khmer laborers for temporary residence from 23 April to 30 June 2007, and it also required that each laborer pays Baht 1,500. This announcement was not appropriate, because it required that each laborer has to pay Baht 1,500; and there were only 72 Khmer laborers registered to obtain temporary legal residence in Thailand. The Khmer laborers who are working in Thailand had to spend a lot of money to receive identity cards to stay temporarily in Thailand.

“In an interview with Khmer laborers, they stated that, first, they had to ask their Thai bosses to go to have their names registered, and their bosses did not allow them easily to go. Second, they had to spend Baht 5,000 to 15,000 Baht to travel from their place of work to the place where the identity cards are issued. Third, they had to pay Baht 1,500 for their identity cards issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. Fourth, they had to pay Baht 3,900 to 5,000 for a medical checkup. Fifth, they had to spend time and more money to have work permits issued in Thailand, so that they could work in Thai factories. Therefore, the Khmer laborers who are working illegally in Thailand have to spend several ten thousand Baht so that they can work legally in Thailand. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training which is the guardian of the Khmer citizens, should have helped its citizens, but it committed corruption by taking money from the Khmer laborers who are getting therefore even poorer.

“Mr. Keo Remy, a representative of the Sam Rainsy party, said yesterday morning, ‘I will write to His Excellency Vong Soth, the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, in order to clarify in the National Assembly the reason why the ministry took Baht 1,500 from each illegal Khmer laborer.’ He added that he asked the ministry not to take money from these illegal laborers. He was concerned that the Khmer laborers could not have enough money to apply for legal identity cards, and he was also afraid that Thai bosses might conceal this kind of information from Khmer illegal laborers.

“He added that he had many discussions about the Khmer illegal laborers, and he asked the Minister in charge of labor and vocational training to clarify the reason for their actions in the National Assembly. He confirmed, ‘I will invite the minister to clarify this problem in the National Assembly.’ Approximately 20,000 Khmer laborers who are working illegally in Thailand continued to be cheated by their Thai bosses; for example, they do not receive their agreed salaries, some were sold on to another foreign country, and some were jailed in Thai prisons. Therefore, they are appealing to the Cambodian government to help them.” Reach Seima, Vol.2, #164, 20.3.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1296, 21.3.2007

  • The An Hui Province Of China Wants To Cooperate With Cambodia in the field of agriculture, the provincial governor Wen Haiying stated her intention to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Container Vehicle Run Over and Injured One Municipal Police

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, 5996, 21.3.2007

  • Strong Reaction Against A Statement That Samdech Mae Is Yuon [has also some Vietnamese ancestors]; The Palace Issued an Announcement To Reject It [the Ministry of Information asked Sralanh Khmer to publish a corrections; Senator Om Monnorine, a sibling of Samdech Mae, emphatically denounced the text also]
  • Today [21 March 2007] Heng Pov [now in prison] Gets On The Cutting Board [metaphor for being tried in court] Over The Case Of Kidnapping A Korean National
  • Sam Rainsy Party Rally Vehicle Collapsed: 2 Killed, 11 Injured When Driving On A Dam [Kompong Cham]
  • Cloudy Weather [during dry season] Will Continue Two More Days

Moneaksekar Khmer, 14, 3114, 20.3.2007

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: Little Donations From Corrupted People Will Keep Poverty From Present To Future Generations

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4241, 21.3.2007

  • 304 Houses And 2 Schools Were Destroyed; 3 People Were Killed In Battambang; 45 Houses In Banteay Meanchey Were Destroyed, 1 Was Killed
  • Mrs. Keat Kolaney [a sister of the Minister Of Finance Keat Chhon Appeared In Court Over The Case Of Grabbing 500 Hectares Of Land [she said she bought the land from villagers at their request at the cost of $180/per hectare; civil society is waiting to see what actions the court will take]

Reach Seima, Vol.2, #164, 20.3.2007

  • The Ministry Of Labor And Vocational Training Planned To Commit Corrupt Practices Over The Case Of Illegal Khmer Laborers In Thailand
  • The US [Ambassador] Is Not Happy To See The Court Being Used To End Samdech Krom Preah’s Political Life

Reachea Thibbatay, Vol.2, #51, 20-25.3.2007

  • Major Historical Achievements Of Cambodian People’s Party and Policies For Development of the Communes For the Years 2007 to 2012
  • It Was the Activity of Leaders of Cambodian People’s Party Who Worked To Re-establish and Protect the Monarchy, The Throne, And the Royal Regime
  • One More Dirt Road Paved – Another Donation Of The Three Samdech [Heng Samrin, Chea Sim, and Hun Sen] – Was Constructed By Sophann Construction Company [Note: this company belongs to the owner of this newspaper]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #2996, 21.3.2007

  • The US Ambassador Pays Attention To the Life Skills In Rural Areas [such as fixing bicycles, gardening, germinating mushrooms with Children studying at schools in Ratanakiri]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #358, 21.3.2007

  • Son Chhay Pushes The National Assembly Today To Include Into Its Agenda The Schedule For The Prime Minister To Come And Clarify Issues Related To Land Grabbing
  • Members Of The Khmer-Yuon Border Committee Hold A Meeting [to discuss installing border poles]

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