Archive for December 6th, 2008

Cambodia Receives US$1 Billion of Aid for 2009 – Saturday, 6.12.2008

Posted on 6 December 2008. Filed under: Week 589 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 589

“Phnom Penh: In spite of the global financial crisis, donor countries and communities promised on 5 December 2008 to grant more than US$951.5 million to Cambodia for the development of Cambodia in 2009, and recognized the work achieved by the government so far. However, the strengthening of good governance and the elimination of corruption are conditions set for the government to act effectively. The promise to provide this unexpectedly colossal aid was made at the end of a two-day meeting of donor countries and communities with the Cambodian government on Friday.
“China, the European Union, and Japan are big donor of Cambodia. Among the US$951.5 million, China grants US$256.7 million, the European Union grants US$214 million, and Japan grants US$112.3 million. Therefore, China is the most noticeable country that grants the most aid to Cambodia for 2009. The promise to provide US$951.5 million is not including aid promised by the United States, because the USA wait until its new government is formed.

“Last year Cambodia received nearly US$690 million. Therefore, the determination of donors to provide aid to Cambodia increased remarkably. It should be noted that between 1992 and 2007, Cambodia was granted US$1,892 million to rebuild the country after years of war, in order to encourage development.
“The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said after the aid meeting that the US$951.5 million does not include aid which is not yet decided, because of the situation of some countries, like Belgium and the United States, but they promised to decide in the near future. Therefore the total aid is estimated to be up to US$1 billion for 2009.
“He went on to say that in the period of three more years, Cambodia might receive US$1 billion per year, which is sufficient to develop the country. He considered that this is an achievement based on the strong leadership by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen in managing the reforms, making Cambodia to be like a train moving on its right track.
“A Chinese Embassy official, whose country is the biggest donor country for Cambodia in 2009, presented the determination of China to continue to help Cambodia. The Second Secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. Qian Hai, told Rasmei Kampuchea, ‘Cambodia is China’s good friend. Therefore, we are pleased to help Cambodia towards proper development, and the citizens become richer.’
“As for the French Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Jean-François Desmazières, who is also the representative of the European Union, said that in the period of three years from 2009 to 2011, the European Union expects to provide US$595 million for the development of Cambodia. He added that the European development partners would like to underline the necessity to encourage high economic development in order to support poor people, which includes direct foreign investment in Cambodia as the major basis for development in this country. The quality and sustainability of direct foreign investment have a close relation with the legal system, with transparency and good governance. The European partners would like to express again their determination to help the government in all these sectors.
“The Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Shinohara Katsuhiro [篠原勝弘], said that Japan is delighted to see the new achievements of the Cambodia government in its efforts to continually develop the economy. He continued to say that we would like to express our support for the development of the economy and for poverty alleviation. Japan expects to grant US$112.29 million per year from now to 2011.
“At the same time of granting such enormous aid, donors also demanded the Cambodian government to strengthen good governance and to eliminate corruption, in order to guarantee that the Cambodian people receive real advantages from that aid.
“The Asian Development Bank decided to provide US$20 million for the good governance project in Cambodia, in order to promote the participation of citizens for development and good governance, and the response of the government to meet their requirements. In an announcement on 5 December 2008, the World Bank said that good governance is recognized as fundamental for sustainable development. As for corruption, it is recognized as a big obstacle against the capability and efficiency of the government, and it affects especially poor people. The growing demand of citizens for good governance becomes a key measure for the improvement of transparency and responsibility of public work, and is a part of the strategies of governance and of fighting corruption of the World Bank.
“The four-year project for good governance is a part of the effort of the World Bank to help deal with governance problems in Cambodia. Although this country achieved an admirable development of its economy during these latest decades, governance is still a major obstacle to broad development and increased poverty alleviation. Corruption, poor responsibility of public institutions, and the weakness of monitoring institutions, and of other mechanisms that directly affect the daily lives of citizens. These factors block foreign investment and the creation of employment, obstruct the requirements of income for the government, and also contribute to make more than one third of the Cambodian people to be poor.
“This creative project will promote good governance in all priority reform sectors of Cambodia by strengthening different institutions, by partnership support, and by sharing of experiences. These can be achieved by helping encourage measures of ‘the demand sector’ which assists in strengthening the capability of the citizens, of civil society, and of other non government bodies, to join with the government and to make the government show responsibility. These measures promote also the government’s capability to be better in responding to the citizens.
“The World Bank Country Manager in Cambodia, Mr. Fan Qimiao [樊启淼] said, ‘This project is a part of the World Bank’s responsibility of broad involvement for governance reforms in Cambodia. The World Bank provided leadership to support governance reforms previously for public institutions. Now, it is a good time to join with other relevant bodies, like the Royal Government, private institutions, civil society, donors, the National Assembly, the Senate, and the media, to better articulate the demand for good governance.’
“Different initiatives of the Royal Government and of civil society will be supported by aid from this project, that will seek the promotion of governance in four priority reform sectors – the private sector development, the management of natural resources, the management of public finance and decentralization, and citizens’ partnership for good governance.
“This project will support four state institutions that will implement the project to demand good governance, and it shows determination for the promotion of good governance.
“The total budget for this four-year project is US$25.28 million, where US$3.62 million will be granted by the Australian Agency for International Development – AusAID – and the rest will be provided to the Cambodian government by the International Development Association (of the World Bank that provides funds to low income countries).” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4761, 6.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 December 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1813, 6.12.2008

  • Rape of Children and Women Increasingly Severe [according to an ADHOC report, just from January to October of 2008, there were 320 cases of rape, 485 cases of violence, 523 human rights abuses, and 52 cases of human trafficking]
  • The Siamese [Thai] King Is Seriously Sick so that He Could Not Deliver His [traditional, like every year] Birthday Speech

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #298, 6.12.2008

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Will Unite with other Democrats for the Next Term Elections [in 2013 – according to the Sam Rainsy Party deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Mu Sochua]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6518, 6-7.12.2008

  • [Ratanakiri] Prosecutor Promised to Release [Two] Community Representatives [in Ba Tang commune, Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3632, 6-7.12.2008

  • The United States Has Not Decided to Provide Aid to Hun Sen’s Government
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Recommends to the Government to Implement a Financial Policy and a Currency Policy to Prevent an Economic Crisis [the financial policy is related to the management of the national budget, of state income and expenses, and to the appropriate use of loans; the currency policy is to decrease the interest rate of banks]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4761, 6.12.2008

Cambodia Receives US$1 Billion of Aid for 2009

  • Tourists Ask the Authorities of Sihanoukville to Set Up Toilets at Some Public Roads and Places
  • Australian Films Are Shown in Cambodia for the First Time [movies are shown at Lux Cinema from 4 to 7 December 2008, the admission is free]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3452, 6.12.2008

  • Khiev Samphan Still Claims that He Is a Patriot and Did Not Commit Any Crimes; Therefore, It Is Not Appropriate At All that He Is Detained! [he said during a hearing of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on 4 December 2008]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Railroad Repair Proceeds Slowly – Friday, 5.12.2008

Posted on 6 December 2008. Filed under: Week 589 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 589

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said that so far, the restoration and repair of the two railroad lines from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and from Phnom Penh to the Poipet border crossing with Thailand, based on a loan from the Asian Development Bank – ADB – and from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, ‘has not achieved any noticeable results, and the action is very slow.’

“These two railroad line repair tasks were acquired by a French company, TSO-AS, and by a Thai company, Nawarath Joint Venture; the work was begun early in 2008. An official of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, who asked not to be named, said, ‘275 days passed and some part of the budget was already spent, but the action is very slow.’

“The new connection with 48 km of rails, with rail iron assisted by Malaysia, is just to fix the body of the rail track, but no gravel has been put so that rail iron could be laid. “Previously, there were only studies… and the arrangements to solve the problems of he people in some affected houses in Poipet are not solved yet.’

“Despite the disclosure about this slowness, no reasons where given which are important obstacles.

“Mr. Ouk Nida, an official of ADB, told Rasmei Kampuchea that it is true that there are some delays. But ADB is just the provider of finance; it is not deeply involved in the affairs of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. At present, we start to study a master plan on some sections of the railroad in detail, where mines and unexploded ordnance are a problem.

“Another officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said that so far, 100,000 concrete support blocks are in Thailand. The concrete support blocks are very important to improve the railroad. Approximately US$52 million of the loan from ADB is used to repair old bridges and culverts, to change new supports, and to add more gravel. As for old rail iron, it is not replaced, it can be straightened out, and then it becomes usable again. As for the bed of the railroad, it will not be repaired much, because the railroad bed does not need to be as high as national roads which are covered with tar.

“This official added that the maintenance of both railroad lines aims to facilitate that trains can run at 50 km/h and can load between 15 to 20 tonnes per axis.

“Trains are in very bad condition at present. Frequently, trains derail because both railroad lines are too old.

“According to the plan, the companies have to construct 264 km of railroad from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville within 23 months, and the other line from Phnom Penh to Poipet, with a length of 338 km, within 22 months.

“An official of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said that the reform of the railroad system is not just to improve and repair the rail tracks to be better, but it is a move, step by step, towards the better use of this sector of transportation, as well as to connect rail transportation systems with neighboring countries.

“An Australian company is intending to use train locations as transportation hubs, while these two railroad lines are being repaired. However, detailed information about this case cannot yet be explained, because the director of Royal Cambodian Railways, Sokhom Pheakavanmony, could not be reached for a comment in the evening of 3 December 2008.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4760, 5.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 5 December 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2831, 5.12.2008

  • Siamese [Thai pro-government] Demonstrators Announced to Rest Three Days to Celebrate the King’s Birthday [which is celebrated on 5 December 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1812, 5.12.2008

  • Cambodia No Longer Sees the Light in Negotiations with Siam [because the Thai supreme court decided to resolve responsibilities within the government structure first; Mr. Var Kimhong, the chairperson of the Cambodia Border Committee, said that Cambodia is waiting for information from Thailand]
  • Cambodia Vows to Use Cooperating Resources [provided by partners] Effectively [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #151, 5.12.2008

  • The Fourteenth ASEAN Summit Meeting in Thailand Is Postponed because of the Political Crisis
  • Ms. Rice, the US Secretary of State, Puts Pressure on Pakistan over the Mumbai Problem [to make strong efforts to bring the groups that attacked Mumbai to be prosecuted]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6517, 5.12.2008

  • Pumping of Underground Water in Siem Reap, the Angkor City, Motivated Experts to Warn about the Effects on Buildings and Temples [according to Japanese experts, only 8,000 cubic meter of water should be pumped from the ground per day, otherwise the temples will be affected – but at present, more than 1,000,000 are pumped per day]
  • Korean Real Estate Investors Identified Five Factors Relating to Stability [of the real estate market] and Asked the Government to Take Action [1. Local and foreign investors observing the change of the situation since the fourth term elections, when buying of real estate declines, 2. The National Bank policy restricts lending, and all local private banks reduced loans to investors and increased the interest rates, especially for real estate investors, 3. The border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand which led to a bloody clash, 4. the two biggest real estate mortgage companies of the United States – Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – have serious financial problems, and 5. The global financial crisis]
  • The Minister of Tourism Held a Meeting to Protect Tourism [from the global financial crisis]
  • A German Man Died after Falling from a Veranda by the Riverside [Kratie]
  • Air Traffic Resumed in Bangkok; Thai Airways Has a Loss of US$560 Million
  • Australia Supports Strategies [of the Royal Government of Cambodia] for Law and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3631, 5.12.2008

  • European Union Donors Encourages Head of the Cambodian Government to Keep the Promise to Fight Corruption and to Reform the Administration

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4760, 5.12.2008

  • Railroad Repair Proceeds Slowly
  • A Court Said that the Detention of [two] Community Representatives of Ethnic Minority Tribespeople over a Land Dispute with the DM Group Is Correct [because the two men used violence – Ba Tang commune, Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]
  • First Tar Factory [for road surfacing] Is Opened by a Khmer Woman [Kandal]
  • Civil Society: Mineral Resources Are Explored in 16 Provinces in Cambodia [in Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kampot, Koh Kong, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Pursat, Ratanakiri, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Stung Treng]
  • A Military Officer Was Detained for Attempt of Murder by Using a Weapon Illegally and for Drug Dealing [he shot at the police during their ant-drug action in Phnom Penh]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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