Archive for January, 2009

The National Assembly Asks for German Experts to Come to Cambodia to Help Organize Laws Related to Fuel – Friday, 30.1.2009

Posted on 31 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

The vice-president of the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Thierse, plans to visit Cambodia at the end of January 2009 for discussions and to strengthen mutual friendship and tourism, following a request by the Cambodian National Assembly, asking for German experts to assist in developing and organizing laws related to fuel in Cambodia.

“The official friendship visit to Cambodia starts on 31 January 2009. Dr. Wolfgang Thierse is to promote cooperation between both countries through tourism from Germany to Cambodia, and Cambodia will ask for funds and invite German experts to come to help the National Assembly of Cambodia to draft three laws related to fuel in Cambodia.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap – the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit of the National Assembly was assigned by the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Heng Samrin, to lead fifteen members of the National Assembly, ten from the Cambodian People’s Party and five from opposition parties, to meet with Dr. Wolfgang Thierse, who is in Cambodia for an official friendship visit to Cambodia starting at the end of January 2009. He said that the intention of the meeting was: first, to create closer ties of cooperation between Cambodia and Germany; second, to elaborate publications on policies, in order to increase trust for investment in Cambodia by German investors; and third, to develop tourism from Germany to Cambodia which has dozens of cultural resources and temples all over the country.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap went on to say that during this occasion, Cambodia will invite legal experts from Germany to help to draft three laws: legislation on fuel control, taxation legislation in Cambodia, and legislation to tax the profit of oil exploitation and production in Cambodia.

“It should be noted that Cambodia will get profits from huge amounts of oil in the near future.

“Previously, through cooperation between Cambodia and Germany, a lot of goods were exchanged, and Cambodia had also received substantial aid from Germany.

“According to an announcement from the National Assembly on 28 January 2009, Dr. Wolfgang Thierse will make an official friendship visit to Cambodia from late January 2009 to 4 February 2009, responding to an invitation by the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Heng Samrin.

“Dr. Wolfgang Thierse will meet also the president of the Senate, Samdech Chea Sim, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia Samdech Hun Sen, representatives of the political parties that won seats in the National Assembly, and many different representatives in Cambodia.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #193, 30.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #110, 30.1.2009

  • [More than 100] Protesters Surrounded and Locked in Court Officials in the Siem Reap Provincial Court [the protesters agreed to unlock the door after an intervention from the provincial governor, Mr. Sou Phirin, who promised to release their three representatives held in detention over a land dispute]
  • An Arab Foundation Provides US$50 Million for One Year for the Water Resources Sector in Cambodia
  • The United Nations Asks Rich Countries to Step Up Actions to Prevent Poverty [according to the British NGO Oxfam, around 1 billion people are facing food shortages]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1860, 30.1.2009

  • [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – Deputy Commander] Kun Kim: There Is No More Shakeup of Military Commanders, but There Will Be Some Adjustments
  • [Cuban President] Mr. Raul Castro on a Historical Visit to Russia

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #331, 30.1.2009

  • Head of the Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Warns Cambodian Politicians Not to Go to Taiwan [Taiwanese officials are not allowed to enter Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #333, 30.1.2009

  • The Prime Minister Said that the Border Disputes at the Preah Vihear Temple Region Started from the Position Taken by the Siamese [Thai] Military, Which Was Stricter Than the Siamese Government’s [in a letter to the National Assembly, saying that not the Thai government should be blamed, but the Thai military; however, a Thai spokesperson in Cambodia denied this accusation]
  • [The vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister] Hun Sen Cuts Down the Number of Bodyguards of [the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, president of the Senate] Chea Sim from More Than 600 to only 100 after Removing [RCAF commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yam from His Position

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #193, 30.1.2009

  • The National Assembly Asks for German Experts to Come to Cambodia to Help Organize Laws Related to Fuel
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Appeals, after Loosing in [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong’s Case in France [on defamation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6565, 30.1.2009

  • New US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Promises to Change Ideas in Washington to See Cambodia in a Better Light

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3674, 30.1.2009

  • To Choose [an international] Substitution Judge for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [to fulfill busy work in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in order to solve disagreements and complicated problems] Is a New Case

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4808, 30.1.2009

  • Local Vegetables Could Occupy from 60% to 70% of the Market [compared to before, 90% was imported from Vietnam – according to the Chbar Ampov market chief; however the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, Dr. Yang Saing Koma, said that this figure is acceptable, but it is seasonal, adding that Cambodia has enough land to produce vegetables, but farmers lack techniques, capital, and skills to study the market, and this prevents Cambodia to reach that figure; also most Khmer farmers do not want to shift from doing rice cultivation to growing crops]
  • New Monivong Bridge Will Be Inaugurated before the Khmer New Year [14 – 16 April 2009] and the Construction Site of an Elevated Road Will Be Begun on the Same Day
  • Cambodia Is the Country with the Lowest Life Expectancy in the Region [World Health Organization: women’s life expectancy is 65, and men’s is 59]
  • Siam [Thailand] Promises to Allow Khmer Agricultural Products into the Country again in Early February
  • US$18 Million Optic Fiber Plan Will Help Speed Up Internet Services and Make them Cheaper [according to the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Mr. So Khun]

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The Municipality’s Plan to Cut Down Illegal Constructions in the City – Thursday, 29.1.2009

Posted on 30 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 28 January 2009 the Phnom Penh authorities held a meeting at the meeting hall of the municipality which was presided over by a deputy Phnom Penh municipal governor in charge of cadastral work, Mr. Mab Sarin; also the deputy chief of cabinet of the Phnom Penh Municipality, Mr. Koet Chhe, the director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Mr. Chhay Rithisen, all district deputy governors, and some other relevant officials participated. The major intention of this meeting was to awaken and to encourage cadastral officials to focus on preventing illegal constructions happening, and to improve the situation by taking action to reduce illegal constructions.

“The deputy municipal governor, Mr. Mab Sarin, said, ‘We are really embarrassed that we have enough commune and district authorities and expert officials, but no one seems to knows that illegal constructions are going on in their localities until the construction is finished; when citizens informed them, they said they were surprised. We do not believe that the authorities do not know when illegal constructions are going on, because no one knows better about every construction than the local officials. We meet therefore to discuss methods to achieve solutions, and somebody must take real responsibility for such problems. If you still say that you do not know, you will receive administrative punishments or be shifted out from work.’

“Mr. Mab Sarin added, ‘We do this in order to cut down illegal constructions. The authorities do not want to start conflicts with anyone; that is, the authorities have to enforce the laws which have been made. Previously, letters were issued to stop some illegal constructions, but until there were solutions reached, most of the constructions had almost been finished, and the administrative work was slow, exactly because of the lack of action of the district authorities.’

“The director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Mr. Chhay Rithisen, admitted that some of his officials are really afraid to stop illegal constructions of the rich and of powerful officials, because sometimes, when they take action, there were complaints lodged at the courts against those officials, and they suddenly and unexpectedly became the accused. He requested that, regarding the above problem, the municipality should create a committee at municipal level, like a committee to check excavation pits and buildings sites, where all agencies cooperate, including armed forces, so that it will be efficient, because until now, ‘when we go to check illegal constructions, our people were prohibited to enter by bodyguards of the owners of the construction sites, and sometimes cadastral officials were even arrested.’

“The deputy chief of cabinet of the Phnom Penh Municipality, Mr. Koet Chhe, said that previously, when cadastral officials and district authorities went to stop illegal constructions, both sides did not get along with each other well, because there was no cooperation at all. Sometimes, when the authorities went to stop or crack down on illegal constructions, powerful officials had letters from higher officials permitting their constructions. ‘However, as the Phnom Penh authorities, we have enough possibilities, and we are willing to use them, and if there are problems, we also have two lawyers to get the courts involved.’

“Mr. Koet Chhe went on to say that from now on, the municipal authorities will go to check all localities regularly, and the relevant local authorities must be responsible for all illegal constructions. This plan is to achieve improvements. ‘That means that we must not let illegal constructions spread like mushrooms, and the local authorities must hold responsibilities in their respective localities. ‘

“Illegal constructions not only cause anarchy, but also affect the beauty of the city.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6564, 29.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1859, 29.1.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Lost His Cases against [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong in France. A French court convicted him of defaming th Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong by writing that he was involved with the Khmer Rouge regime as the former Boeng Trabaek prison chief]
  • Samdech Krom Preah Reacts Against the Statement of the Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals [he reserves the right to sue any individual or group that says or writes something defaming him]
  • An Ambulance of the Bopha Meas Clinic Competed for an Injured Person with a [state] Ambulance of the Kossamak Hospital, like Taxis Fighting for Customers [when the ambulance of the Kossamak Hospital arrived at the site of a traffic accident on 27.1.2009, staff of the Bopha Meas ambulance rushed to lift the victim into their ambulance and drove away – this violates the ban by the Ministry of Health for all non-state ambulances to assist patients]
  • Sun Chanthol [the former Minister of Public Works and Transport] and Neav Sithong [Kompong Cham parliamentarian] Leave Funcinpec to Join the Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #192, 29.1.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Filed Motion to the King and to the National Assembly to Help to Intervene to get the US$20,000 Compensation for Each Family
  • Local Civil Society Official [Mr. Moeung Son – founder of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Voices Concern about the Spread of Chinese Culture over Khmer Culture [although some state institutions were found closed during the Chinese New Year, the Minister of Information said that no government officials stopped to work]
  • During Three Days of the Chinese New Year, More Than 20,000 Tourists Visited Sihanoukville, and Four People Died in Traffic Accidents
  • America Will Deploy 20,000 Marines to Afghanistan [in six to eight months]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6564, 29.1.2009

  • The Municipality’s Plan to Cut Down Illegal Constructions in the City
  • Cambodian Army Commander Is Unhappy when Siamese [Thai] Army Commander Led Troops into the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Area without Information
  • Peruvian Ambassador Is Interested in the Potential of Tourism in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4807, 29.1.2009

  • Financial Crisis Might Put Cambodia to Face Human Trafficking [a project coordinator for an United Nations Inter-Agency, Lim Tith, said that after workers loose their employment abroad, not all of them will return to their homeland, because they need income to improve their livelihood and maintain their honor – and these reasons can be used as a trap to easily harm workers to be trafficked]
  • Forestry Chief Insulted and Hit [Thngai Nis] Journalist’s Head with a Torch, and Military Police Shot to Threaten Him Not to Take Pictures of Loading Wood into a Train [Kompong Chhnang]
  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: Cambodia Already Created Measures to Face the Global Economic Crisis [he said that the government had prepared a budget of more than US$500 million, now also suggested by the Sam Rainsy Party to face the crisis]
  • The Prime Minister Prohibits Councils of the Capital, of Provinces, Cities, and Districts, to Create Ties with Taiwan [in order to abide by the one-China policy]
  • [Four] Robbers Notorious for Robbing Gold Stalls in Many Provinces, Are Arrested by Banteay Meanchey Military Police
  • In 2008 the French Embassy Provided More Than 3,200 Khmer Citizens with Visas to Live in France
  • Thailand Prohibits the Distribution of one Issue of The Economist because of Writing about the Royal Family

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The Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.1.2009

Posted on 29 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Banteay Meanchey: Aunty Im Savoeun [now a member of the National Assembly, elected as a member of the Cambodian People’s Party] remembers what hurt her the most – it was when she lost her husband after he was tortured by the Khmer Rouge. Her husband had stolen a potato because he had been starving, and then he was beaten to death.

“She was quoted by Mr. Denis D. Gray, writing for the of Associated Press, as saying, ‘I could not help my husband, because there was no medicine. What could be done was only sympathy, and to shed my tears.’

“This 64-year-old woman, like many other women in Cambodia, who suffered half of their lives, is waiting to receive justice. This waiting continued since after the end of the Khmer Rouge politics [in 1979], which had destroyed the law and the judicial system.

“The United Nations supported court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, had recently announced to bring the first of five Khmer Rouge leaders for prosecution: on 17 February 2009, the first hearing will be held to try one of the Khmer Rouge leaders who held high responsibility. That person is accused of crimes against humanity. Hearings of four other persons to find justice and peace of mind for victims are not expected to begin before 2010. 504 seats are prepared for observers to listen to the hearing of Duch (Kaing Gek Eav), the former chief of the Torture Center Tuol Sleng. As for the others – such as former head of state Khiev Samphan, former deputy prime minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, the former minister of Social Affairs and the former strict ideological leader of the movement Nuon Chea – they will be put in prison for the maximum period; there are many countries involved in the process of this tribunal which has been awaited for a long time and which is now finally in progress. Even though it is facing challenging difficulties, it will help to identify what happened, and to close the history of those dark activities of the past.

“Aunty Savoeun said that in these hearings, at this tribunal, there are only 5 to 10 accused – there is no balance, because the Khmer Rouge killed millions of people. She lost four members of her family, and many other families lost some of their members. She said, ‘My beloved husband and son will never return to see me, but they have to receive justice.’

“Highly agitated by communism, the Khmer Rouge’s vision was to damage and to destroy Cambodian traditions and society, until there was nothing left besides falling back to year zero. The Khmer Rouge turned the country into a place of slaves and into a desert without freedoms and rights. At least 1.7 million people, some say more than 2 million, died of killings, starving, and illnesses.

“An official of New-York-based Human Rights Watch, Mr. Brad Adams, said, ‘When more than two million people died, it is not enough to try five to ten perpetrators and then say: Now everything is finished.’

“What we want is that victims and members of thousands of families who died receive acceptable justice; that is, at least between ten and twelve Khmer Rouge leaders should be brought for prosecution.

“Mr. Adams is an American who observes the progress of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since even before this court was created, he has worked 13 years related to Cambodia, but the progress is slow. It is very important as the clock’s hands move. Some accused died, are ill, and old.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1858, 28.1.2009

  • Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party] Ask [Minister of Economy and Finance] Keat Chhon to Explain [polices to face] the Economic Crisis
  • The Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals Suspend Their Political Support for Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh, because of being disappointed by his inactivity, by the lack clear strategy, and by leading depending on his officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6563, 28.1.2009

  • Two Human Traffickers Are Arrested Who Had Trafficked 10 Boys Over the Border for Thai Owners [the parents had been persuaded to let their children work in Thailand where they could earn a lot of money, but the parents had to pay them Riel 250,000 [approx. US$62] per child – Koh Kong]
  • [Kompong Chhnang] Court Summons 4 People, but 70 Others Come [in order to accompany their representatives regarding a land dispute]
  • Tens of Thousands of Tonnes of Khmer Potatoes Are Stuck, while Siamese [Thai] Authorities Prohibit Thai Merchants to Buy Them
  • The 7NG Company Informs [Dey Krahom Residents] to Register Their Names to Receive Houses and Vendor Stalls [31 out of the 91 families agreed to take houses at Cham Chao, Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

  • Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia
  • A [28-year-old] Woman Who Was Raped Appeal for Justice, while the Man Who Raped Her Is Released by the [Pursat provincial court after he had been detained for three months]
  • [Anti-Thai government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Warn to Surround the Government House on 31 January 2009
  • A Woman Delivers Eight Babies in Los Ageless
  • More and More Americans Go to Serve the Army while Unemployment Increases

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The Settling of Payments Outside the Banking Systems in Cambodia Amounts to Up to US$800,000,000 – Tuesday, 27.1.2009

Posted on 27 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Phnom Penh: A report produced by the Australian & New Zealand Banking Group – ANZ – said that the settling of payments oustide of the banking systems in Cambodia amounts to up to US$800,000,000.

“A report published during the inauguration of the Wing Company [mobile phone banking – there is also a video explanation here] early this wekk said that at present, among more than 14 million Cambodian citizens, only 500,000 have bank accounts. The report added that so far, most citizens are settling their payments outside of the banking systems, with an annual amount of up to US$800,000,000.

“The director of the Sthapana Company, Mr. Bun Mony, said on the telephone on 24 January 2009 that he has never surveyed this field, but he is aware that so far the settling of payments outside of the banking systems is the usual habit of most Cambodian people.

“He went on to say, ‘I do not dare to confirm this number to be correct, but I think that the settling of payments outside of the banking systems is the culture of settling money affairs for most Cambodian citizens.’

“He added that this habit or culture should be changed, and people should start to think about settling payments through the banking systems, a public system, because this can bring a lot of benefits to the national economy.

“He continued to say, ‘If all citizens stop to hide their money under their mattresses and put it into the banks, the money will be gathered in one place; therefore, it is easy for transferring and using it for different commercial activities, and our state does not have always to think about printing new paper money.’

“He said also that keeping money under the mattress does not bring any benefit, and it might even face many hazards, but if one puts money into the bank, it is safe and brings benefit in the form of interest, and banks can use that money as loan capital to people who need it.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4805, 27.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1857, 27.1.2009

  • It Is Said that there Was an Intervention to Release a [Kompong Chhnang] Police Chief’s Son who Drove a Toyota Lexus and Hit a Man and a [6-months-pregnant] Woman to Death [Pursat]
  • Switzerland Grants Swiss France 1 Million [approx. US$865,000] for Banteay Srey Temple Maintenance
  • Two Died and One Was Wounded in a Traffic Accident Ahead of the Chinese New Year [Banteay Meanchey]
  • A Ferry Sank in the Sea of Vietnam – 40 People Drowned [mostly women and children; the ferry was overloaded]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6562, 27.1.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Came into a Prohibited Region near the Ta Moan Thom Temple, One Stepped on a Mine Loosing a Leg [Oddar Meanchey – it is not clear whether the designation of the area is mutually agreed or a uniletral Cambodian declaration]
  • Villagers Struggle for a Solution from the Provincial Court while the Authorities Promised to Solve Their Demand [to release their representatives who were arrested over a land dispute] on 29 January 2009 [Siem Reap]
  • Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Visits Patients at the Bopha Meas Clinic [cf. Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #189, 22.1.2009: “If It Keeps Working, It Is against the Punishment Imposed; therefore It Is Better to Close It” – the Bopha Meas Clinic was ordered to be closed by the Ministry of Health, for violating the ban for private hospitals to use their own ambulance cars to transport patients; several expert doctors of this clinic are from Vietnam]
  • The Construction of a Bridge Connecting [Sihanoukville to] Koh Puos Island Will Be Completed within 14 More Months

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4805, 27.1.2009

  • The Settling of Payments Outside the Banking Systems in Cambodia Amounts to Up to US$800,000,000
  • Cambodia and Thailand Agree to Speed Up Border Negotiations; Joint Border Committees Will Meet on 2 and 4 February 2009; Thai Minister of Defense Will Arrive in Cambodia on 6 February 2009 to Discuss Troop Withdrawal
  • Evicted Former Dey Krahom Residents Protest at the National Assembly
  • Five Brutal Teenage Boys Raped a Woman [all of them were arrested – Baray, Kompong Thom]
  • During the Night of the Chinese New Year, There Were 38 Traffic Accidents in Phnom Penh, Killing Five People and Seriously Injuring Many
  • A Kompong Chhnang Veterinary Doctor Complained about Difficulties to Check Pigs Imported from Thailand [before they are brought into Phnom Penh, because some pig importing merchants do not obey policies and instructions of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, and some at points of entry at the border do not work competently]

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Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey – Monday, 26.1.2009

Posted on 27 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“In September 2008, the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, began a survey called So we will never forget – A Population-based survey on attitudes about social reconstruction – and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [Researchers/authors: Mychelle Balthazard, Sokhom Hean, Phuong Pham, Eric Stover, Patrick Vinck]. The results of this survey were released to the [Cambodian] public on 21 January 2009 at the Sunway Hotel, in a meeting organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – CHRAC. the methodology was a systematic random sampling , made according to general technical standard systems to survey people. In the survey, researchers randomly selected 125 communes out of the existing 1,621. This selection was done proportionately to population size at the communes. After that, the researchers randomly selected 250 villages countrywide from these communes. There were four randomly selected families in each village and one member of each family was randomly selected. As a result, the researches had 1,000 selected respondents from all places around Cambodia. Data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

“Each survey in Cambodia encounteres many obstacles. A major obstacle that should be considered is that it is most difficult to solve what is a clear selection of respondents, to ensure that there is no partiality and that results of the survey reflect the actual reality in the society. There are many factors in the survey of the above Human Rights Center that needed to be solved. The first aspect is that Cambodia has a patriarchal social structure, and there are many big differences between the various groups of people. There are big gaps between the rich and the poor, the highly-educated people and those who are illiterate, between the city residents and the people in rural areas (the differences between these pairs of groups have many consequences, such as the understanding of society, different living standards, differences in education, population density, and different ways of life …). As a result, it is very difficult to clearly conclude how the researchers defined who is a ‘general Khmer citizens,’ because in Cambodia there are many differences between different communities, and there are many ethnic groups. The survey aimed to study the opinions of all Cambodian people, but to explain who all the Cambodian people are is difficult. Nevertheless, the methodology to select respondents by the Human Rights Center was thoroughly conducted by studying previous surveys of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, and it included scientific research methodology. However, we have to suggest that we have to conduct surveys for each group separately rather than for the whole Cambodian people. Doing so allows us to know well to what extent each group of people knows about the Khmer Rouge regime and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If we would get such information, we would find it easy to create outreach programs for the villages to educate the people there further.

“The second point relates to the population density in each province. If we conduct surveys by randomly selecting villages and communes without thinking about population density, we will get partial towards provinces with a small density. The above survey of the Human Right Center uses a selection of villages and communes which is proportionate to the population size of the different provinces. This factor is important to note in the above survey.

“The third point is that a survey has to consider the theory of the environment of the people [related to a center] which states that when people live farther away from populated areas, their knowledge regarding the social situation drops. According to this theory, the population density is divided into three main sections: the core section, the middle section, and the outer section. In general, people living in the core section are highly educated, rich, and knowledgeable in many social skills, and they influence people living in the middle and the outer sections. There are many reasons for these results. The first reason is infrastructure: where generally people in the outer sections find it hard to connect to the core sections, because of many reasons, such as damaged roads and lack of travel facilities. The second reason is communication, which affects the mentality of people living in the outer section, because they do not of have access to television, newspapers, and radio. However, at present, the Cambodian economy is growing and people in the core, middle, and outer sections get closer to one another little by little, narrowing the gap of the mentality of the three sections of people.

“The fourth point relates to the selection of respondents so that those chosen obviously represent Cambodian people. Respondents of the survey of the Human Rights Center of the University of California were at the age of 39.8 on average, and the number of men and women were equal. 69% of the respondents lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and the rest of 31% said that they were born after the Khmer Rouge regime. But according to statistic of the National Statistical Institute, 68% of Khmer citizens are 29 or under. Therefore, the other 32% have spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This different handling of the statistics might be partial towards those who spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This partiality might affect different responses quite a lot, especially related to the status of being a victim, the understanding of the Khmer Rouge regime, and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, reconciliation, and compensation.

“Fifth, the Human Rights Center of the University of California recognized that one shortage of this survey is the problem of not meeting respondents that had already been selected through the random selection methodology. The report of the survey said that 147 families were identified and replaced by other families, because nobody was at home (76%), families refused to give responses (5%), and other reasons (19%). Moreover, more than 297 respondents were selected and then exchanged because they were not at home when the researchers went to interview them (85%). Those replacements strongly affected the random selection. One reason is that those who stayed back could not express their interests, social class, and knowledge. Those who went to work outside might be members of families with more strenuous labor and knowledge than members of families staying home. Therefore, researchers could have received the information that Khmer citizens are not much interested in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal or do not know this court.

“The above points are major points of that the Human Rights Center of the University of California studied, and what different organizations that intend to conduct surveys should consider. Furthermore, other obstacles, such as the interpretation of questions from English to Khmer, and different views between researchers and respondents regarding important ideas such as reconciliation, remembrance, what is a victim, who is a perpetrator, what is the understanding of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and regime. The last point that all researchers should also be aware of, is that people’s opinions are influenced by different events at villages and by outside happenings. This is a reason which creates gaps between previous and future results. Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 January 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #38, 26-1.1.2009

  • Military Officials of the Ministry of Defense Who Retired Demand the Government to Release Their Salaries [more than 6,000 military persons were retired since April 2008, but so far, they have not received their pensions]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1856, 25-26.1.2009

  • Ke Kim Yan Had Tears in His Eyes during a Ceremony to Change Assignments [he said that already six months earlier he had asked Prime Minister Hun to retire from his position of the commander-in-chef of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces because of ill health]
  • Nearly 2,000 [garment] Workers of the LA Factory Strike because Their Boss Has Not Released Their Salaries for Two Months [Phnom Penh]
  • Lim Marachit, a Khmer in the United States of America, Found a Pesticide to Kill “Banla Yuon” Plant [phonetic – probably Water hyacinth? – also known as Ouyas [phonetic] – this plant grows in rivers and affects natural fish breeding] before Returning to Cambodia

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #191, 25.1.2009

  • Human Rights Groups Condemn the Authorities That Used Armed Forces and Machinery to Destroy the Houses and Evict the Dey Krahom Residents [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Features of Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Threats of the Financial Crisis [30% of construction plans with millions of dollars of planned investment were suspended or canceled, the garment export dropped by 2% in 2008, and the number of tourists from the United States of America and Europe declined by 39%]
  • Cambodia Takes Up Tourists from Russia and from Kuwait as a New Tourism Destination
  • The New Market Inaugurated Repairing Site [Phnom Penh]
  • Mr. Obama Orders to Completely Close the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6561, 26.1.2009

  • Solving Border Disputes: The Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Foreign Affairs Will Meet to Discuss Today
  • Eighteen Trainees [from state institutions] Receive Certificates as Spokespersons for the First Time
  • Districts of Provincial Towns Are Changed into Cities, and Three Big Cities Were Changed into Provinces [three cities, equal to t former districts, are Poipet City in Banteay Meanchey, Suong City in Kompong Cham, and Bavet City in Prey Svay Rieng, and the three big cities that are changed into provinces are Kep, Sihanoukville, and Pailin]
  • [Ousted former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Announced His Commitment to Struggle in Thai Politics Forever [statememt on opposition TV channel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

  • Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey
  • Two Cambodian Students Won a Law Competition [in Cambodia] and Will Join an International Competition in the United States of America

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Challenging Times – What Kind of Change to Come? – Sunday, 25.1.2009

Posted on 26 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

On 20 January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, change started to come. Never before had so many people around the world be able, through TV and the Internet, to participate form afar – never before was also so much interest expressed, in the new presidency of this country by a crowd of more than a million people in Washington, and many more around the globe.

To refer here to these events may be an occasion to remember the years of Administrative Reform and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia, and the efforts to see spokespersons authorized in the different sections of the Cambodian administration, so that the Cambodian public will not have to read, time and again, that one official refers an inquiry to the next, and the next does not have time to speak to a journalist. And the public, the people – “The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution – are not informed what is being done and why – even in such important situations that they trusted the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for many years, and now he is no more there, and the population – civilian and in uniform – does not know why they should withdraw the confidence they had held for many years.

During the long and difficult election campaign, there had been different slogans leading to the inauguration, becoming more and more specific: “Hope and change” – “Hope is not enough” – “Change you can believe in” – not only believe in, but real “Change we need.” And change started to happen. First of all there is an openness for communication, through the media, to the people. It was reported that the new president visited the White House media quarters and press office – places that the former president is said to have avoided – because there, people ask questions and expect clear answers.

When the new president signed some executive orders in front of TV cameras, before he signed them, he read parts of them and explaining what is meant, for the public to understand. And it was announced that e-mail alerts and Internet blogs would be used for “timely and in-depth content” about the administration’s policies:

“The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. We will publish all non-emergency legislation to the Web site for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

And in terms not only of changed style, but also of content, the president made some fundamental policy declarations in his inaugural address:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

One cannot but remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen had made similar declarations in relation to the ongoing violence by the rich or on behalf of the powerful, when he had said already in 2002:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti-Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In December 2005, the Prime Minister had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

And – interestingly enough – it was the Chinese People’s Daily Online which reported on 13 February 2007 the concerns of the Cambodian Prime Minister (we missed to see this reported in the local press):

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop. The land grabbers are not simple people, and they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

We do not have an explanation for what is happening now – in spite of these words.

When the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch had raise critical question about many countries, including Cambodia, the leader of the Cambodian government’s Human Rights Commission is quoted to have quickly dismissed their statement, elaborated with 20 detailed documents, as “defaming the country with lies. – I refuse all of the accusations, they are just trying to make up things.”

Human Rights Watch had also criticized then USA. The new president’s executive orders to bring change to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and to the harsh interrogation methods, some of which the new attorney general – the US minister of justice – called torture, remove some of these accusations.

In the meantime, when people from 234 families, to be evicted from land, assured to them by a court order, were protesting, they where shot at – not by illegal private thugs hired by a company, but by members of a Military Police unit.

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009


Yesterday, on Saturday, the protracted negotiations – with residents of the Dey Krahom area in Phnom Penh, who claimed that the compensation offered to them for being removed 20 km away, with no school for their children, and no possibility to continue to earn a living like now, where they used to live since many years, are different from the original promise for new arrangements in place – came to an end. They were replaced by destruction and forced eviction.
The police and the people

The police and the people.


Teargas was used, and electric batons – their existence in Cambodia had frequently been denied by the authorities.
Teargas

Teargas


Electric baton

Electric baton


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This action was taken in support of the 7NG Group, the parent company of 7NG construction. The pictures of their website shows big villas on wide green lawns – housing for the few very rich. There website has even a section Code of Conduct. But when one clicks on it, it responds: “We are sorry… – This webpage is under construction.” Is it an irony, or is it just the truth that it shows two big construction machines at work?

dk-kb-grader
According to public discussion, neither the transfer of this public land – originally “3.60 hectares of social land concession granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to the seven Dey Krahom communities” – into private business use is procedurally and legally very transparent. Nor does the 7NG Group presented detailed plans for the commercial use of the land – except that it is for high class housing and maybe a shopping center – rumors in the absence of transparency. The Mirror has regularly reported information that the construction sector of the Cambodian economy is facing severe problems. The construction boom in Phnom Penh during the last years resulted in many high rise and high price buildings being constructed or being under construction, which now have to be scaled down or abandoned. But the 7NG company can go ahead?

Phnom Penh has not seen anything similar to what what President Obama could say to a new senator, who has dedicated herself to public, not high priced, housing:

“During her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

Where are the 7NG plans to be located in view of the warning, quoted by the Chinese international media? Are they among the group about which Prime Minister Hun Sen has “always appealed again and again to stop” – or is the Cambodian government maintaining the position nationally, which President Obama has denounced as wrong internationally: “that power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

The experience of many people to be marginalized and to be pushed further out, for the benefit of powerful and rich interests, will not help to build a human, peaceful, an just society. This is not how the hearts and minds of people can be won.
dk-kb-distressed
People close by were watching: Will they be next?
dk-np-whonext
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[Pictures: courtesy of Karl Bille, LICADHO, Monika Nowaczyk, Nestle Poell G. Lagaya, Makenzi Travis]

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A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs – Saturday, 24.1.2009

Posted on 25 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Phnom Penh: A new report shows that Cambodian youth encounter many difficulties when seeking jobs, and also employers find it difficult to recruit qualified youth with skills. On 22 January 2009, the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center – CJCC – and an employer association, the Cambodian Federation of Employers & Business Associations – CAMFEBA – which is recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia and by many international organizations, representing employers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially on work problems – organized a national workshop for youth on the topic ‘Youth and Employment,’ to publish an important survey report about youth employment in Cambodia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training.

“This workshop was presided over by a secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Pich Sophoan; around 400 students from different universities and youth associations participated in the event.

“The report was based on a survey which had been sponsored by the UN International Labor Organization – ILO. It represents a first crucial step to promote understanding and social dialogue about some of the most important issues for the future of Cambodia: that is the mismatch between supplies and requirements on the labor market.

“CAMFEBA had hired BDLink to conduct a large survey of youth and employers, about their difficulties and expectations regarding skills and youth employment. This survey is part of a project for youth and social dialogue of the employer federation CAMFEBA which is still in progress. This project was initiated by CAMFEBA and the Employment Sector Office of ILO in Geneva, under a project of the Social Dialogue Sector, funded by the Norwegian government. Starting its implementation from June 2007, this project aims to create proper employment and promote youth opportunities to seek income by matching the supply and the requirements of skills on the labor market, and to create relations between relevant agencies to present development policies for youth. More importantly, this project is focused on the creation and coordination of social dialogue among trade unions, the Royal Government, and employers, by dealing with difficulties and concerns, in which these three fields have similar interests, and for which they have to find solutions.

“The survey was conducted with around 2,200 youth and 220 employers from five provinces and cities, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kompong Cham, and Svay Rieng. They were asked about their views regarding some problems such as access to education, to training for quality in education, and about work requirements, experiences in job seeking, and about the kinds of skills demanded on the labor market.

“Youth is facing difficult decisions about important problems in their lives, such as family responsibilities, studies, choosing a job, study tours, and employment opportunities. One important point among many key points found during the survey is that youth encountered difficulties in making decisions, because they did not have sufficient access to the right information.

“For instance, when they had to decide what they would do when they finished high school, more than two thirds of the students just depended on their parents. Information provided by schools or by teachers or self collected information about the labor market were not influential factors for their decision making. Likewise, only 33% of the students at universities and at other educational institutions made their decision which skills to study on their perception about demands for those skills on the labor market.

“This discovery shows how important it is that agencies of the government, educational institutions, employers associations, trade unions, and different non-government organizations work out measures to provide useful information about the different fields of study, and to give guidance for selecting their future work.

“What makes the survey different is that it looked at work problems from the point of view of the employers. High-ranking officials operating for the development of the different sectors of the economy must survey these opinions about skills needed among the Khmer youth.

“Talking about educational requirements, about 96% of the employers demanded youth with broad education when they need staff, and 72% demanded even bachelor or master degrees. These requirements were in high demand by non-government institutions, in business, and in various careers, but they were hardly demanded for work in hotels and in factories.

“In the area of business, many employers expressed their concerns about the lack of skills needed on the labor market. Employers need workers with skills who have the ability to do productive work, in order to be encouraged to improve their commitment to move ahead, but such skills were always missing. Only 13% of the employers believed that the graduates had enough, or almost all qualifications needed for their work.

“As shown below, more than half of the employers said that it was true that they seek expert staff with decision making skills based on correct analyses. The results of this survey show clearly in which ways the students need to be educated in schools and up to universities in Cambodia.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1855, 24.1.2009

  • The Thai Minister of Foreign Affair [Mr. Kasit Piromya] Invited Khmer Embassy Officials in Bangkok to Have Lunch Together before Visiting Cambodia [to discuss the solution of border disputes]
  • There Were 51 Crimes, Killing 63 People in Phnom Penh in 2008 [1,012 perpetrators were prosecuted]
  • Workers of the Yongwa Factories Still Protest, but There Is No Violence [Kandal]
  • Traffic Police Have Hope Again, after the Municipality Keeps on Providing Money for Their Encouragement, like Previously [each Phnom Penh traffic police official receives Riel 10,000 per month, corresponding to approx. US$2.50]
  • The 22-Day War in Gaza Killed 1,330 Arab People and Injured 5,450 [while Israel lost 3 civilians and 10 soldiers]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #330, 24-29.1.2009

  • Government Officials Deny the Allegations of the International Organization Human Rights Watch
  • The Owner of the Yongwa Factory Agrees to Pay a US$50 Bonus to Each Worker, but Asks Them to Wait [until February – according to the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

  • A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs
  • [Two] Robbers Wearing Soldier Uniforms Pointed Guns at Gold Seller and Robbed Gold Worth Nearly US$30,000 [they are not yet found – Siem Reap]
  • On His First Day at the White House, Mr. Obama Focused on Economic Issues and the Middle East, and the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]
  • In 2008, Nearly 4,000 Civilians Were Killed in Afghanistan
  • Natural Catastrophes Killed 235,816 People in 2008 [among them, 138,366 people were killed by the cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, 87,476 people were killed by the earthquakes in China, and the rest were killed in other countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4803, 24.1.2009

  • Black Money of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Was Found Related to Officials’ Collusion about Illegal Fishing at the Tonle Sap Lake
  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Considers the Position of Thailand to Be Soft for the Border Disputes
  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport [Mr. Tram Iv Tek] Asks Japan to Support the Construction of the Neak Loeang Bridge [over the Mekong on the way to Vietnam]
  • Korea Provides High Life Insurance to Workers [around US$20,000, compared to Thailand, which provides only around US$1,000 – no information given what kind of life insurance Cambodian companies provide for their workers]
  • Investors from the US State of Ohio Come to Study Possibilities for Agricultural Investment in Cambodia
    Red-Shirt [anti-government] Demonstrators Announced to Hold a Big Demonstration on 31 January 2009 [Thailand]

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Reasons Why Investors from Korea Fail in Cambodia – Friday, 23.1.2009

Posted on 23 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Seeming to be floating towards failure of their long term investments in Cambodia, while the global financial crisis expands, investors in construction and in real estate from Korea are seeking interventions from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the outstanding Prime Minister of Cambodia.

“The director of the Public Internal Financial Control framework which also represents investors from Korea, Mr. Kim Suan Mok [phonetic], said that because Cambodia has Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as the cleverest and most intelligent Prime Minister and leader, more investors came to invest in Cambodia unexpectedly.

“Mr. Kim Suan Mok added that being a leader with high determination, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen provides opportunities to investors to invest billions of dollars in Cambodia. They expect to receive warmth from the leadership of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as well as support from the Council for the Development of Cambodia; for example Mr. Kim Sun Sok [phonetic] has invested more than US$2 billion in Cambodia, with other investors also having billions of dollars.

“However, the financial crisis which is plaguing the world seems to drive investors in Cambodia more towards failure than towards hope for potential profit from investments in Cambodia. Mr. Kim Suan Mok said that the financial crisis results in a decline of real estate prices in the world by 50%. This led to bankruptcy for some banks. Mr. Kim Suan Mok emphasized that big financial institutions lacking capital had to announced that the world is in crisis, and some financial institutions have to minimize their operations.

“The more than US$2 billion investment mentioned by Mr. Kim Suan Mok is a huge contribution for the Cambodian economy, but some problems, related to skyrocketing prices of real estate in Cambodia, seem to encourage investors to abandon their projects. This will become a bad model for investors having invested their capital, then they will transfer it out again..

Mr. Kim Suan Mok noticed that prices of real estate in the word dropped sharply, but real estate owners in Cambodia seem not to care for world developments and changes. Because the price of real estate in Cambodia is too high, compared to the world market, some investors have given up their plans to buy real estate for investment. Moreover, it is not only investors who worry, but also many Cambodian people are seriously affected by this problem.

“Mr. Kim Suan Mok added that most investors from Korea face failure in Cambodia, and only 10% of them achieve success with their plans. This failure is he result of the fact that most investors did not know the cultural and commercial situation in Cambodia well. Another important point is that investors find it very difficult to find real information leading to success. So far, some investors from Korea have given up their long term investment plans and just wait and see whether the situation of the financial crisis might change soon.

“To support investors so that they have the opportunity to invest in Cambodia for a long period, investors ask the government to help ease the general legal framework for investments, such as the rights to buy and own land for a long period, and not only to lease land from the state for a period of 99 years. The Cambodian government itself should broaden the actual opportunities for investors.

“Also, Mr. Kim Suan Mok appealed to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to publish information about the changed global economic situation in order to persuade real estate owners in Cambodia to sell their real estate to investors at prices which are in line with world market price levels.

“Mr. Sung Bunna, director of the Bunna Realty Group and director of the Khmer Real Estate Appraisal Association, said that prices of real estate in Cambodia are fixed and have not declined like in other countries. This is a big problem for investors. Facing the general financial crisis, Mr. Sung Bunna asked the Cambodian government to help rescuing the real estate situation in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sung Bunna estimated that at present, many Cambodian citizen rush to sell their real estate in a narrow market; that means there are many people who rush to sell, while the number of buyers is small. This situation will make the prices of real estate in Cambodia drop dramatically in the near future, and the government should release some money to buy real estate from businesspeople and from banks which might lack money, in order to avoid Cambodia from falling into a crisis.

“Mr. Sung Bunna added that whether the price of real estate in Cambodia will recover again soon or not depends on the confidence of Khmer citizens, but not on foreign investors. Even real estate companies around the country joined as an associations to prevent the price of houses to drop further. In another separate case, more than 730 construction companies are not likely to leave their plans being orphaned too long, and that will be the time when the Khmer real estate sector will be in a good condition again, at the latest in 2010.

“Mr. Sung Bunna appreciates the real estate market in Cambodia which grew strongly in 2008 and provides good economic growth for Cambodia. The prices of real estate might drop dramatically due to the economic crisis, while some businesspeople and banks might encounter a financial crisis and therefore rush to sell their real estate to have financial resources for their trade – but this will have a negative impact on the Cambodian economy; that is, the Cambodian economic growth will drop sharply, making it difficult recover in the future.” Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8004, 23-25.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #9, 23-27.1.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: Solving Border Disputes with Thailand Has to Be Done Together with the International Community [because it is useless to solve disputes bilaterally]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #109, 23-29.1.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Prohibits the Import of Agricultural Products from Cambodia [after a meeting between the Thai Prime Minister and his officials to ban the import of agricultural products and to prevent the illegal entry of workers from Cambodia for economic reasons]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1854, 23.1.2009

  • Nearly 10,000 Workers of the Yongwa Factories Held a Violent Demonstration [demanding to release the annual saving money of US$50, which was normally provided to each worker in January – Takhmao, Kandal]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #329, 23.1.2009

  • If There Is No Solution [for land disputes with the Heng Development Company and shooting by military police at people] on 23 January 2009] Kandal Stung Residents Will Protest in Front of the National Assembly
  • The Presidents of Unions and Civil Society Ask the Government to Arrest the Real Murderers for Prosecution [who shot dead Mr. Chea Vichea, the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia. On 22 January 2009, around 200 people marched with flowers to the site behind Wat Langka where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #332, 23-27.1.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Kasit Piromya] Asks to Meet also with [the president of the opposition party] Mr. Sam Rainsy [during his official visit on 25 January 2009 to discuss border disputes]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #190, 23.1.2009

  • Position of Mr. Ke Kim Yan Is Finished – He Is Replaced by Mr. Pol Saroeun as the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [8 other high ranking military officials are also assigned]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3673, 23-29.1.2009

  • Appeals Court Begins Investigations to Seek the Real Murderers Who Killed Mr. Chea Vichea

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4802, 23.1.2009

  • More Than 300 People Were Arrested during an Operation to Suppress Fishing Crimes, and People Were Detained for Questioning
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Talks about the Economic Crisis and about Military Relations with Cambodia
  • A Man Took, Tortured, and Raped a 10-Year-Old Girl while Her Grandmother Was Asleep [he was arrested – Kompong Cham]
  • The Director of a Milk Powder Company [mixing melamine plastic into the milk] Was Sentenced to Imprisonment for Life, and Two Others Received the Verdict of Capital Punishment [China]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3673, 23-29.1.2009

  • The Victims Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces that Victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime Can now to Lodge Complaints against the Suspect Kaing Gek Eav, Called Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief, within 10 days before the first hearing on 17 February 2009]

Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8004, 23-25.1.2009

  • Reasons Why Investors from Korea Fail in Cambodia

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Websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia Also Sleep – Thursday, 22.1.2009

Posted on 23 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“After visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – and there was nothing specially new – I began to wonder whether the websites of other state institutions are also all numb or not.

Note:

From the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: ‘International Issues’ – the last entry is from 2003; for 2003, 2002 and 2001 there is only one item each. ‘Statements by H.E. Mr. HOR Namhong’ – up to February 2007. The icons of little flags of China, France, Japan, and South Korean seem to invite to read the documents in the language of these countries – but a click leads back to the English text – the target of the British flag icon. A Khmer language version does not exist.

“Therefore, I started to visit a website of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, which is an important state institution, especially it is tasked to attract investment to Cambodia. It was as disappointing as visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, and on another website, Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB) – Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), most information, except for laws, is out of date, which is not different from that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first website deals with investment, and the second one is related to foreign aid and meetings with donor countries. Both websites do not have information since 2007. [The first of the two sites displays an icon with the Japanese flag – and a click leads really to a Japanese version.]

“As for information about the gross domestic product [GDP], there are only figures for 2005; that means the GDP figures for the last three years, when Cambodia achieved double digit percentages of economic growth, are not published to the world through this website. What is ridiculous, is that the price of land in Phnom Penh, presented to investors, is just between US$357 and US$700 per square meter. Is this information useful for anything?

“In fact, this is very old information, because the price of land in Phnom Penh is now not under thousands of dollars, even though we are facing an economic crisis. The reason, why the Council for the Development of Cambodia publishes such cheap land prices is because those prices are from reports from 2006.

“How about looking for information about the political system on the website? New information related to the political system is also not provided. That means they still present previous information about the parliamentary election results of 2003, where the Cambodian People’s Party won 73 seats, Funcinpec won 26 seats, and the Sam Rainsy Party won 24 seats. Results of the elections in July 2008 are not found on this website. Therefore there is no information saying that the Cambodian People’s Party won 90 seats, the Sam Rainsy Party won 26 seats, the Human Rights Party of Kem Sokha won 3 seats, Funcinpec won 2 seats, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party won also 2 seats among the 124 seats of the National Assembly. As for information about the government, there is nothing; that is, no one knows about the Cambodian government led by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen. They only keep old information of many years ago, around 100 words in English. They do not present anything to the world about the political stability in Cambodia.

“The Council for the Development of Cambodia should know that political stability is a key factor which can attract foreign investors to invest in Cambodia. This omission is part of the failure to attract foreign investors to come to invest in Cambodia. The role of the Council for the Development of Cambodia is to present detailed information about Cambodia to the world, particularly information related to favorable factors for investment.

“If this website contains mostly unusable information, how can investors decide to invest in Cambodia? Moreover, publishing such information about investment on this website can also make the foreign press use it and publish it in their countries – so they use these figures of investments in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Looking at these investment figures, the press will analyze these data and publish wrong information to the world.

“What the Council for the Development of Cambodia and all state institutions have to know better is to provide information; information is a necessary factor for democratic and free market countries. Additional billions of dollars will flow to Cambodia, if investors receive sufficient information: that Cambodia has political stability and many other favorable factors for investment. They will not take a risk to invest in a country that they do not known well.

“It should be time that all state institutions wake up and catch up so that information technology will be benefiting as much as possible. A lazy Cambodia might be assessed wrongly when seeing such out-of-date information. They might think that those institutions do not do anything for the nation. Written by a citizen” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4801, 22.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #9, 22.1.2009

  • [Foreign] Co-Defense Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea Will Appear to Explain Their Corruption Complaint Today [at the Phnom Penh Primary Court]
  • Dey Krahom Residents Ask the Municipal Authorities to Provide between US$30,000 and US$100,000 to Each Family
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Asks the President of the Cambodian People’s Party to Keep the Renakse Hotel as a National Heritage

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1853, 22.1.2009

  • Obama Sworn in to Take His Office and Become the First Black US President
  • Municipal Traffic Police Complain that Money Provided by the Municipality Was Lost for Four Months [Riel 5 million, corresponding to approx. US$1,250, is provided to the Phnom Penh Traffic Police Office monthly, and each traffic police official receives Riel 10,000, corresponding to approx. US$2.50]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #328, 22.1.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen: If I Want to Break Up the Alliance between Both Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party], It Can Be Done Any Day

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #189, 22.1.2009

  • If It Keeps Working, It Is against the Punishment Imposed; therefore It Is Better to Close It [the Bopha Meas Clinic was closed by the Ministry of Health, after violating the ban for private hospitals to pick up and transport patients]
  • The Cambodian Government Adopts a Video Conferencing Program [using e-government technology for state meetings]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6558, 22.1.2009

  • A Teenage Boy and a Teenage Girl [of a group of ten teenagers] Are Arrested for Attacking another Student [one girl was hit until she fainted; all of them are high-school students – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3672, 22.1.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affair [Kasit Piromya] Will Come to Discuss Solutions for the Border Disputes with Cambodia This Weekend
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that the New US President Will Improve the Promotion of Democracy

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4801, 22.1.2009

  • Websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia Also Sleep
  • Research Report [conducted from 9 September to 1 October 2008 by researchers from the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley and from the Treatment Committee] Found that only a Small Number of Khmer People Know and Follow he Processes of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • A Man Died and a Boy Is Seriously Injured because of Playing with Unexploded Ordnance [Pursat]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Do Not Allow the Building up of Military Activities against Each Other
  • The Minister of Health [Mr. Mam Bunheng] Appeals to Residents Living near the Vietnamese Border to Be Careful with Bird Flue

Samleng Yuweakwey, Vol.2, #6, 22-24.1.2009

  • Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [who have just been released on bail] Will Attend to Place Flowers for Chea Mony This Morning [the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who was murdered in 2004]

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Cambodia Will Start the First Stock Market in December, but Will Not Be Successful as Planned – Wednesday, 21.1.2009

Posted on 22 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Phnom Penh: The meltdown of the global economy, the lack of trust from investors, the lack of skills, the weakness of laws and of the judicial system, and corruption are considered by experts to be obstacles against the expected success of a stock market in Cambodia. This assessment is made as Cambodia plans to start the process of its first stock market in December 2009.

“It should be noted that a stock market is a gathering forum which allows investors and the general people to invest in companies that they trust, in order bring back profits for them. Those companies participating in a stock market can sell their shares to anybody and take the money like a loan for extending their activities, expecting profit; citizens can buy shares in order to become shareholders and co-owners of a shares selling company. Such clients can receive benefits, as long as the company makes profit.

“At present, the global economy is facing a crisis, and the stock markets of all countries are low, because many owners of shares sold their shares in order to recoup [as much as is left of their] original capital, and many other potential customers give up their intentions to invest in the stock market.

“The Chief Researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chab Sothearith, said that the general loss of trust from investors will make it difficult for a stock market in Cambodia to take off.

“In should be noted that the Cambodian government announced a stock market project in September 2007 with Korea Exchange of South Korea, which put up 45% of the share capital as a partner immediately. After the announcement, the Cambodia Securities and Stock Exchange Law was adopted, and a Securities Commission of Cambodia was created, to encourage the creation of a stock exchange, which will issue shares and take action against companies that violate the law.

“However, stock exchange experts said that Cambodia still has a lot of shortcomings which are an obstacle for the progress of starting a stock exchange at the end of this year.

“An advisor of the National Accounting Council and finance professor of the Royal University of Economy and Law, Mr. Soum Chanthy, said that so far, Cambodia has very few stock market experts and does not have a proper and sufficiently complex technical basis to meet the operations of a stock market.

“In addition, Cambodia needs a firm legal system and courts with high capabilities to quickly and justly solve issues related to doing business in a stock market.

“Mr. Soum Chanthy added that although there is still one year left to create a stock market, Cambodia is not yet capable to meet all shortcomings mentioned above, making the stock market plan progress slowly.

“The director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies, Mr. Kang Chandararoth, said that while Cambodia has not yet an anti-corruption law, the creation of a stock market will provide high hazards, and losses will have to be faced by investors.

“The Cambodian government has not yet adopted an anti-corruption law for many years.

“Mr. Kang Chandararath went on to say that corruption can happen at state and private companies, like hiding facts in financial reports about capital, losses, and profits.

“It should be noted that part of success of a successful investment of capital depends on good governance and financial transparency of companies; their situation needs to be disclosed publicly; however, among more than 2,000 enterprises operating in Cambodia, less than 20% publish annual reports. This information comes from the National Accounting Council at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Ngy Tayi, agreed with the definition of the problems mentioned above, and he said that at present, the Ministry continues to encourage different companies to organize their reports properly before they are allowed to participate in the stock market. In the meantime, the director of the general commercial development project of Korea Exchange, Mr. In Myo Lee [phonetic], said that a stock market can help to reduce corruption in Cambodia.

“Cambodia wants to attract national and international investors from more than 400 companies to this stock market, but so far, according to Korean investors who are partners, there are only three state-controlled companies which plan to register something at the stock market of Cambodia.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #188, 21.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #8, 21.1.2009

  • The Vietnamese Authorities Released [five] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Monks, but Prohibit Them to be Ordained as Monks Again [according to the president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, Mr. Thach Setha]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #108, 21.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Culture Restricts the Implementation of the Copyright Law
  • Cambodia Prepares to Host an ASEAN Foreign Affair Ministerial Meeting with the European Union [27 and 28] May 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1852, 21.1.2009

  • The Court Summons Sam Rainsy to Come to Explain [issues of a lawsuit of the National Election Committee against him for not paying Riel 10 million, charged by the National Election Committee for defaming leaders of the Cambodian People Party during election campaign in 2008]
  • Cambodia Liberated 18,000 Children from Serious Forms of Labor in 2008 [it is estimated that there are more than 1.5 million child workers in Cambodia, and among them, 250,000 are doing serious forms of labor]
  • Siam [Thailand] Will Investigate the Allegation that There Are Rights Violations against [Muslim] Rohingya Migrants [by sending them in boats to the sea]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #188, 21.1.2009

  • Cambodia Will Start the First Stock Market in December, but Will Not Be Successful as Planned
  • Leaders of Both Opposition Parties [the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy Party] in the National Assembly Ask the King to Grant a Great Title to Eminent Leader Chea Vichea [the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia who was murdered in 2004]
  • Puea Thai Party Wants Mr. Thaksin [ousted former Thai Prime Minister] as an Advisor

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6557, 21.1.2009

  • The Government Announces Two Positions for Solving Land Disputes: 1. Prevent Armed Clashes and 2. Continue Bilateral Negotiations
  • Two Suspects Who Are [paddy rice] Guards Are Arrested for Setting Fire on 30 Hectares of Paddy Rice Sheafs [corresponding to around 50 tonnes of paddy rice] During the Night [Battambang]
  • A One-Year and Nine-Month Old Girl Was Killed by Twisting Her Neck, and Thrown into a Fish Raising Pond by a Brutal Person [perpetrator is not yet identified – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3671, 21.1.2009

  • The Artificially As Murderers Accused [Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were recently released on bail] Are Invited to Join the Firth Anniversary of the Murder of the Former President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia Chea Vichea

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1405, 21.1.2009

  • [The Commander of the National Military Police] Mr. Sao Sokha: The Shooting of Protesters [by Kandal Stung district military police, which caused three people to be injured] Is Being Investigated

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4800, 21.1.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Announces His Intention to Meet with New Thai Prime Minister to Talk about Border Disputes [and he will not raise the disputes between Cambodia and Thailand during the ASEAN summit]
  • The Economic Crisis Will Make at Least 70,000 Workers Unemployed by May 2009 [25,000 workers already lost their employment]
  • Three People [driving on a motorbike] Died after Being Hit and Run Over by a Truck [Kandal]
  • New US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Presents Her Diplomatic Credentials to the King

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