Wednesday, 12.3.2008: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Gives Clarifications to Mr. Son Chhay

Posted on 13 March 2008. Filed under: Week 551 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 551

“Phnom Penh: To respond to the request of a lawmaker from the opposition party to review the authorization of the Sokha Hotel Group to collect revenue from the sale of tickets for visiting the temple areas in Siem Reap, Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, clarified that there was an agreement already before signing the contract, and expenses and income were also thoroughly evaluated.

“Mr. Son Chhay, the Phnom Penh lawmaker from the opposition Sam Rainy Party, said in his request letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen on 10 January 2008 that he had just received technical information that revenue of about US$60 million was collected by the Sokha Hotel Group of tycoon Sok Kong, and similar amounts had also been collected for the previous years. The research was based on the numbers of foreign visitors to the Angkor temples and the types of tickets which were sold in the past.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that money was misappropriated to the Siem Reap provincial adminisstration, to the Ministry of Culture, and to the Cambodian Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap [the APSARA Authority] without passing through the treasury of the Ministry of Finance. Meanwhile the money was spent, without making clear reports or identifying projects. The problem made Khmer and foreign tourists doubt about the bad conditions of some temples in view of the revenue collected.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Cambodian Government, replied via a letter dated 3 March 2008 that the revenue collection by the Sokha Hotel Group, from the sale of tickets for visiting Siem Reap-Angkor is currently managed according to the concession contract dated 17 March 2005 between the firm and the government, which was signed by the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, and the APSARA Authority.

“Samdech said that before reaching the stage of signing the concession contract above, the Council for the Development of Cambodia had held service meetings many times, and had decided to approve the proposal of the Sokha Hotel Group that was interested in the concession contract. Meanwhile the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap [the APSARA Authority] had consulted with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and reported to the International Coordination Committee [ICC] of UNESCO, which is an international committee for coordinating the protection and development of the historical Angkor area, by examining the effectiveness of the management of revenues from the sales of tickets for visiting the temples, according to the regulations stated in the concession contract which identified the Sokha Hotel Group as suited to receive a 50-year concession contract.

“All foreign tourists are required to buy tickets for visiting the temples; there are three kinds of tickets, such as for US$20 for a one-day visit, for US$40 for a three-day visit, and for US$60 for a seven-day visit. But some visitors are not required to buy tickets to visit Angkor Wat, like guests of the government, researchers, international project staff who work on the repair and conservation of temples in the Angkor historical area, the official delegation of the ICC coordinated by UNESCO, and foreign visitors who participate in the meetings of the ICC (twice per year), Cambodian expatriates, children under 12 years, and foreign nationals who just travel across the Angkor National Park.

“It should be noted that in 2006, there were 857,822 tourists visiting the temples. The revenue received from the sale of tickets was US$25,389,520. In 2007, there were 1,106,890 tourists visiting the temples. The revenues received from the sale of tickets were US$32, 741,080.

“To conclude, the collection of revenue from the sale of tickets for visiting the temples in Siem Reap has been effectively carried out by Sokha Hotel Group, ensuring that the revenue goes to the state. The use of the revenue from the sale of the tickets is in accordance with the principles and the existing regulations. Every operation of expenses and incomes was thoroughly examined by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Audit Authority. All the revenue is appropriately controlled by the government to encourage the development of the national economy as a whole and the implementation of projects for various sectors, according to the priorities set by the government.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1590, 12.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Areyathor, Vol.14, #1314, 12-13.3.2008

  • National Election Committee Rejects Request by Mr. Kem Sokha [president of Human Rights Party – for debate on television between prime ministerial candidates, arguing that it is not a presidential election]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #62, 12.3.2008

  • Keo Remy: Non-Independent National Election Committee Is Influenced by Ruling Party So It Rejects Request by Human Rights Party
  • Hun Sen Is Incompetent to Reduce Prices of Gasoline and Goods, Making People Miserable Like Tortoises in Fire
  • Malai District Soldiers Wounded Two Citizens with Bullets in Land Disputes [8 March – Banteay Meanchey]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #60, 12-18.3.2008

  • CTN [Cambodian Television Network] Journalist [Soy Sopheap] Changes Position [he will continue cooperation] after Khmer Rouge Tribunal Officials Softened Their Attitude
  • A Foreign Web Site Posts Sex Services in Cambodia, Showing Photos and Videos of Nude Khmer Women Dancing in Groups

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1590, 12.3.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Gives Clarifications to Mr. Son Chhay
  • Prime Minister Welcomes Development Plan of Chinese Company [Long Ning – phonetic – to invest in culture and tourism]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Agree to Open Another International Border Crossing in Svay Rieng
  • India Stopped Historical March of Tibetan Exiles
  • Kampuchea Krom Khmers [in Cambodia] Ask for Publications of History of Cambodia through Media

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6294, 12.3.2008

  • Widower Detained in Land Issue, Leaving His Two [small] Children [Oddar Meanchey]
  • Man, Who Could Not Repay Debt of $4,000, Hanged Himself [Angk Snuol, Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3410, 12.3.2008

  • Eng Chhay Ieng [secretary-general of Sam Rainsy Party]: Prince Ranariddh Has Conducted Wrong Politics Since 1993
  • Yim Sovann [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: Hun Sen Government Unsuccessful in Preventing the Increasing Prices of Gasoline and Goods
  • Ministry of Information Suggests Reduction of Newspaper Prices but It Does Not Care about Prices of Gasoline
  • International Community Should Observe Proper Conduct of Elections in July 2008

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1289, 12.3.2008

  • CTN Will Stop Broadcasting Reports from Khmer Rouge Tribunal after Accusation against Mr. Soy Sopheap of Selling a Video about Accused Duch at $35,000
  • More Than 500 Sam Rainsy Party Activists in Russey Keo District Join Cambodian People’s Party
  • Keang Vang [former Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot who has recently joined Funcinpec] Vows to Get One Seat in Kampot for Funcinpec

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4538, 12.3.2008

  • France Announces Aid of $15 Million for Three New Projects [to improve quality of medical treatments, to develop foreign film production in Cambodia, and to enhance the respect of labor law in factories]
  • Chinese Company [Loning Intertrading Company – phonetic] Asks for Land Concession of 20,000 Hectares in Stung Treng to Invest in Agriculture

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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