Archive for January 8th, 2008

Monday/Tuesday, 7/8.1.2008: Sam Rainsy: We All Welcome 7 January

Posted on 8 January 2008. Filed under: Week 542 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Sam Rainsy, the President of the opposition party in Cambodia, joined on 5 January with Khmer citizens countrywide to welcome the 7 January as a holiday, when Cambodian people’s lives were saved and the country was liberated from the black-clad regime of mass killings.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, who has just returned to the country after visiting Europe, said, ‘We are all happy to welcome the 7 January, because we remember this day as the day when the Khmer Rouge regime was ended.’ He added that on the 7 January, the Pol Pot regime was overthrown and the Cambodian people were freed from the killings. He considered that the liberation of the Cambodian people gives a positive view to 7 January.

“People throughout the country acknowledge that without the 7 January 1979, many would not be alive, because the Khmer Rouge cruelly killed many people, causing the death of almost two million people.

“Though Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party of Cambodia, recognized the importance of the 7 January 1979, he also considered the 7 January 1979 to be the day when a foreign country invaded Cambodia. He said, ‘If they entered to free us and then they would have gone back home, we would be grateful to them. But they overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and then they continued to control Cambodia. This was not good.’ He explained that the 7 January 1979 also made Cambodia lose its independence and sovereignty, and it was controlled by Vietnamese troops.

“Because the 7 January 1979 saved Cambodian people’s lives, it has become an important day in political afguments for the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] to propagandize for votes so far. In general, it is recognized that the 7 January is an important element to help towards the success of the CPP in three national elections so far – i.e. in 1993, 1998, and 2003.

“However, Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party, said that after 29 years have passed, the 7 January has become ineffective for election campaigns. He thinks that the 7 January has no longer a powerful role as a political threat against the Sam Rainsy Party. He explained that in the 2008 election, the number of young people voting increases, and these young people do not remember anything.

“He went on to say that young people in Cambodia, and also worldwide, think more about their employment, their salary, and justice etc.

“A CPP official said that no one can deny that the 7 January 1979 is the second birthday of the Cambodian people. Therefore, we hope that the people will continue to support us; and moreover, we are also obliged to repay those who were before us their favor with the construction of the country, so that it is developed, peaceful, free from poverty, and it has social justice.

“Though Mr. Sam Rainsy does not consider the 7 January to be a threat against his party in elections, most observers and political analysts thought, ‘Whatever the degree, the 7 January will collect votes for the CPP which led the forces to free the Cambodian people from the killings by the Khmer Rouge. A political analyst, who has been working for a long time, said that when time passes by, more and more people in the young generation reach the age of voting. These young people know very little about what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime. Hence, the propaganda about the 7 January 1979 may be effective only with a small number among the young voters. He continued, ‘However, the 7 January is still deep in the heart of people in the middle and older age groups. Thus, they will still vote for the CPP.’

“This analyst went on to say that the overall effectiveness of the 7 January for voters may decline with the increase of the number of people of the younger generation participating in the elections. As a result, the CPP must think beyond the use the 7 January for its election campaigns. Economic growth, people’s improved livelihood, a clean society, and justice are what the Khmer people in general want. This is what the ruling party must consider to be among the priorities in its political platform, if they want the people to continue to support them.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4482, 6-7.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 7 January 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #26, 7-8.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Stops Opposing 7 January [as National Holiday, remembering 7 January 1979, being liberated from the Khmer Rouge regime] Because He Wants to Be Hun Sen’s Puppet [mocking]
  • Chea Mony [President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Plans to Use Olympic Stadium to Meet Tens of Thousands of Workers to Demand Pay Rise

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6238, 7.1.2008

  • Plan to Install Security Cameras in Streets in Phnom Penh; It Is Expected that Thieves Will No Longer Be Fearless

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3357, 7.1.2008

  • Budget for Khmer Tribunal May Increase to $120 Million

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4482, 6-7.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: We All Welcome 7 January
  • Sweden Will Open Embassy in Phnom Penh
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Provides $200,000 for Construction of Roof of Sihanoukville’s Phsar Leu Market [which was destroyed by fire]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #5593, 6-7.1.2008

  • 7 January Is When Khmers Got Out of a Tiger Cage [Chinese influence] and Got into a Crocodile Cage [Vietnamese influence]

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2745, 8.1.2008

  • Pursat: Journalists Set Up Checkpoints on National Road to Stop Trucks Transporting Goods and to Extort Money, Like Officials Do

Meatophum, Vol.52, #673, 8-12.1.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Agrees to Recognize 7 January as the Day When the Khmer Citizens Were Freed from Pol Pot Regime

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7 January was a National Holiday – no publications

Posted on 8 January 2008. Filed under: Week 542 |

Monday, 7.1.2008

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

7 January was a National Holiday, remembering 7 January 1979, being liberated from the Khmer Rouge regime – no publications today

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Week 541 – 2008-01-06 – Expectations for the New Year

Posted on 8 January 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 541 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 541

It makes sense to think ahead at the beginning of a new year about what to expect in the coming year. There are many different way to look ahead, but maybe it is enough to say there are mainly three categories for such an attitude towards the future: negative – things are going to stay bad; unclear – we do not now what will happen anyway; or to look ahead with some hope.

Without hope – how could we look into the future? Of course, we are also all aware that hope can be frustrated, and then the result is often an extremely negative view of moving towards the future.

Last week, a big market was destroyed in Sihanoukville. Some people expressed their assumption that this may have been a case of arson – trying to force the present roughly one thousand sellers at the market to accept newer, modernized arrangements – of course at a higher price. But so far there is no proof that criminal and fraudulent activity initiating the fire.

But it is reported that those who lost all their stocks of merchandise in the market fire sent a delegation of about 300 representatives, the majority of them women, to Phnom Penh, with confidence that the Prime Minister could help, appealing for help, to recover the former basis of their economic life. In the meantime it has been reported that the Prime Minister donated – without waiting for time consuming administrative procedures – US$200,000 from his own resources to reconstruct the roof, the main structure of the burnt down market.

Where disaster has struck – whether it was an intentionally evil act, or an accident – a way was has been found to restitute the situation.

There are several other cases where restitution is waiting, including some high ranking personalities, who are equally waiting, together with the press and with the public. We refer here to the case where very serious accusations have been made against the highest ranking officer of Telecom Cambodia. Questions have been raised by his own staff. They also pointed out that some of their concern which they addressed, with the same confidence as the market sellers from Sihanoukville, to the Prime Minister, had been stuck on the way through different offices and did not easily reach the eyes of the Prime Minister. Fortunately, a newspaper printed a report, so that the questions became public. Now it is reported that not only other organizations and embassies are waiting for further clarifications, they wait also for action by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and it is reported that even the President of the National Assembly asked the Prime Minister to check what happened at Telecom Cambodia. The allegation that huge amounts of public funds were used for personal interest requires public clarification.

There is another, quite different field where the Prime Minister recently took the initiative to bring order into the – as it seems – not at all transparently organized use of public funds: the way, in which gasoline, provided for government work, is either used in not thrifty ways, of it is even used for personal purposes. Without clear procedures for regularly writing down data about the use of vehicles, and procedures how to monitor and supervise these procedures, and how to take corrective action or even punishment when the procedures are violated, control is not possible. The population, paying taxes, can expect that the officers of the state give public account how they use public funds.

There were grave allegations of misuse: keeping a car regularly at home and not coming regularly to work at the office, to use public cars for personal family purposes driving children to school or wives to go shopping, hinting that all the gasoline allocated to a certain ministry was used by a minister only. But these allegations were not straightforwardly rejected by providing information about the documentation, showing how the fuel and the cars were actually used. This seems to be a first indication about how unorganized the state of affairs is in some cases – otherwise such misuse would have been intercepted long ago by weekly or monthly supervision of the records for the use of such vehicles and for the fuel put into them.

But even now, when the Prime Minister called on all state institutions to be thrifty when using fuel, to save resources so that they can be used for the public sector, the newspapers say that this appeal was motivated by internationally high oil prices and not by internationally used principles to keep log-books for all vehicles in public service, noting down every day: who used the vehicle for which purpose, how many kilometers were driven, entering into the same log-book all expenses incurred, for fuel, repairs, and maintenance, for insurance, and for taxes. No private enterprise, which has to control it expenses in order to stay competitive, can do without such regular cost control. Many years ago, when I was working in a non-government organization, we did not only write down these data for all vehicles – what was more important was that we had reporting and supervisory procedures in place to regularly – weekly and monthly, on different levels – monitor the use and the cost of the vehicles, and to intervene with corrective measures, where necessary.

It is surprising that the Prime Minister “called on state institutions which use state fuel, that they should use fuel economically and not use it for work which is not work for the state, for example, gasoline of the state should not be used to go for a private drive on Saturdays or Sundays.” It seems that the Prime Minister is quoted to imply that such gross irregularities happen, but that they are not been supervised, stopped, and the perpetrators are not punished.

The market women from Sihanoukville came with confidence to appeal to the Prime Minister, and they were not disappointed. The public expects clarity and decisive actions also in other cases – especially after the allegations at Telecom Cambodia met also with the concern of the President of the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister himself made the responsible use of fuel in the public sector to a matter of his own personal concern.

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