Archive for January 5th, 2009

The Government Reduces Recruitment of Civil Servants Due to Economic Meltdown – Monday, 5.1.2009

Posted on 5 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“According to information from a high ranking official of the Council of Ministers, the Cambodian government decided to reduce the recruitment of new civil servants from 9,000 to 8,000 to work at different ministries and departments in 2009.

“The secretary-general of the Councils for Administrative Reforms of the Council of Ministers said that the reduction of recruitment of new staff by 1,000 can help the Cambodian government to avoid budget problems, while the Hun Sen government does not have sufficient capacities to accommodate the former plan.

“Moreover, the secretary-general of the Councils for Administration Reforms of the Council of Ministers added that the government must thoroughly monitor the recruitment of staff in the new year, otherwise the total expenses will increase too much, while the salaries of civil servants are increased by 20% every year. Regarding what is mentioned above, the deputy director of the Department of Policy, Economy, and Finance of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said that it is because the national economic growth dropped, so the Ministry of Economy and Finance must save from all expenses for different operations.

“It should be noted that every year, thousands of graduates apply to work at state institutions, but the government can employ only 8,000 of the most recent graduates. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports can absorb 5,000 graduates to work as teachers; a newly employed staff member receives a salary of around Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] on the average, while a remaining staff receives around Riel 250,000 [approx. US$62] per month. According to the numbers from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the government spent in 2008 US$85 million of the annual national budget of around US$1.5 million for salaries of the more than 200,000 civil servants in total.

“In 2009, the fourth-term package-voted government, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, plans to spend US$1.8 billion, but the projected expenses must be restricted, including expenses on office operations and on salaries. An economist agreed with the reform measure of the government, but to add and to reduce civil servants, as the labor market of the private sector drops also, will cause the labor situation in Cambodia to be worse. This means that unemployment will increase in 2009, as economic growth drops to only slightly more than 4%.

“In the last report of the International Labor Organization about youth employment in Cambodia, the number of youth capable for work, between the age of 15 and 24 seeking jobs every year, was given as around 275,000, and this becomes a big concern for Cambodia. It is expected that this number will increase more, if the labor market is still not growing. In the meantime, officials of some non-government organizations also expressed concern about Khmer citizens facing unemployment and earning no income to support their lives.

“Officials of some organizations pointed out that Hun Sen’s government should not reduce recruitment of new civil servants in 2009 by using the economic meltdown as a cause. In contrast, the government should eliminate corruption and bureaucracy in important institutions in order to collect money lost in corruption to be used rather as salaries for new civil servants working to serve the national interest. Also, the fourth-term package-voted government should adopt an anti-corruption law soon, so that a large portion of international aid is not lost in corruption.

“Previously, independent observers had criticized serious corruption and bureaucracy in some important institutions, which make the national budget to loose hundreds of millions of dollar, but Prime Minister Hun Sen does not take action to eliminate corruption in those important institutions. Important institutions which have been plagued by corruption are a heavy burden, and they have been criticized by different circles: they are the Council of Ministers administered by Sok An, the Ministry of Economy and Finance administered by Keat Chhon, the Ministry of Commerce administered by Cham Prasidh, Hun Sen’s in-law, the Customs and Excise Department administered by Pen Siman, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Anti-Economic Crime Police Department, as well as the court system.

“Observers said that at present, corruption and bureaucracy in the Ministry of Commerce is not different from that in the Council of Ministers. Therefore, recently there was a corruption scandal in the Ministry of Commerce, regarding the creation of a new department – the CamControl Department to be controlled by Mak Picharith. The creation of a new department leads to strong competition between Mak Picharith and Cham Prasidh’s son-in-law, Cham Borith. Many officials of the Ministry of Commerce said that the strong competition for power by both of them will unavoidably explode like a volcano soon.

“Many officials of the Ministry of Commerce said that if corruption can be eliminated effectively in the Ministry of Commerce, salaries for 9,000 new civil servants are not a problem. Therefore, Prime Minister Hun Sen must take action to crack down on corruption in the Ministry of Commerce immediately, in order to collect budget resources, for the salaries of new civil servants to be recruited to serve the nation. The Hun Sen government should not take the meltdown of the economy as a reason to reduce the number of newly to be recruited civil servants for 2009. Observers added that the economic crisis in Cambodia seems not relevant to the recruitment of only 9,000 new civil servants. The Hun Sen government should reconsider this again in order to avoid embarrassment, because in 2009, the government will spend up to US$1.8 billion, and moreover, it is granted nearly US$1 billion in aid to sustain its breath.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3657, 5.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 5 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1838, 4-5.1.2009

  • A Journalist [of Chhanteak Koun Khmer] Taking Photos of a Dessert Seller for Pleasure Was Arrested as if He Were a Robber [putting him in a police car; however, the authorities said they just invited him to receive some advises for his wrongdoing, though it is not clear what he did wrong – Siem Reap]
  • Bush: [Rocket] Attacks by Hamas on Israel Is ‘Terrorism’
  • Muslim Countries around the World Demonstrate against the Attacks by Israel on Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #319, 4-6.1.2009

  • [President of the Human Rights Party] Kem Sokha: The Prevention for Human Rights Party Parliamentarians to Climb to the Preah Vihear Temple [to distribute donations] Is An Extreme Discrimination and Partisan Attitude

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #175, 4-5.1.2009

  • Health of the Former King Gets Better
  • Dry Paddy Rice Plants in Two Districts [of 200 hectares] Are Destroyed by the [Cambodian] Heng Development Company [in Ampov Prey and Kandaok communes, Kandal Stung, Kandal]
  • The Permission to Import too Many Pigs from Thailand Kills the Economic Breath of Khmer Farmers
  • China and Vietnam Finished Border Disputes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6543, 5.1.2009

  • Two Suspects Are Arrested for Setting Explosive Devices; This Is Terrorism against the 7 January Victory Anniversary [to frighten people not to participate in the celebration on 7 January 2008 – said the Minister of Information and spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • Drunk and Noisy 68-Year-Old Man Was Hit by His Wife with a Hoe on His Head and Died [after he hit his wife first in an argument, Svay Rieng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3657, 5.1.2009

  • The Government Reduces Recruitment of Civil Servants Due to Economic Meltdown
  • [Former member of the Central committee of the Cambodian People’s Revolutionary Party, Cambodian Ambassador to Hanoi, and some time Minister of Foreign Affairs during the State of Cambodia, now vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: On 2 December 1978, There Were Yuon [Vietnamese] Troops Controlling and on 7 January 1979, There Were Yuon Experts from Hanoi with Direct Power Around Cambodia in All Sectors and Levels [and so on 7 January 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime broke down]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4786, 4-5.1.2009

  • The Ruling Party [the Cambodian People’s Party] Will Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of 7 January as the Biggest Event Focusing on Border Protection [with 80,000 people participating at the Olympic Stadium]
  • Minister of Public Works and Transport [Tram Iv Tek]: All Roads from Phnom to the Provinces Will Be Constructed during the Fourth Term
  • [Thai] Fortune Tellers: The New Siamese [Thai] Government Cannot Live Long and Bloodshed Will Continue; ASEAN Secretary General [Mr. Surin Pitsuwan] Supports Thailand to Host the ASEAN Summit Meeting

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3469, 4-5.1.2009

  • The Municipality Has No Plan to Punish the David Construction Company of Oknha Khy Pov for Constructing No-Quality Roads, already Damaged

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.

Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Sunday, 4.1.2009

Posted on 5 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

The beginning of a new year always challenges us – to look back, and to look ahead. In both cases we may gain some orientation. We know, more or less, what happened – but do we understand why? Are we satisfied with what we know? What do we like to continue, and what to change?

Or do we try to look more into the future than into the past? Looking forward to 2009 – but is it with fear, or with hope? May be we have our own clear plans what to do – but will we be ale to make things work out, because many others have the same hopes – or not?

Obviously, we cannot get all the lifetime prosperity, harmony, and affection which people wished for us so that the New Year would be a Happy New Year. But could we, maybe, foresee and say more – not for us as individuals, but for the society were we live?

The last couple of days provided two strong indications about that – but of a contradicting nature.

A paper reported that the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had said – though without using these words – that we do live in a society which is not governed by the law.

Quite a strong statement – because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court court “lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.” By the end of 2007, there had even been 9,200 such unsolved cases.

Not some uninformed and ill-intended observers said this, but the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal court.

And the future?

The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court “acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve.”

The Court Watch Bulletins of the Center for Social Development describe what the accused – guilty or not – will have to endure for years to come (according to the time line given by the president of the Municipal Court): “The municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.”

The president of the Municipal Court states now that one of the reasons for these regular violations of the law is a lack of staff at the courts: there are not enough judges and not enough prosecutors! There is no reason to doubt this. But we do not remember to have seen, in the press over the years, that the leadership of the courts, the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, the leadership of the government as a whole – responsible in different ways to upheld a state of law – has decried this situation, leading to regular gross violations of basic rights of citizens according to Cambodian laws, and initiated urgent efforts to rectify this situation.

The situation has an even worse aspect, when one considers that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng was quoted to have acknowledges that there is corruption among high ranking police officers.

But is all his going to be rectified – not immediately, but consistently, and step by step, without unnecessary delay?



The Supreme Court Released Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on 31 December 2008 on bail – they had been arrested on 28 January 2004 and were convicted to serve 20 years in prison by the Phnom Penh court, for killing the labor union leader Mr. Chea Vichea on 22 January 2004.

But the president of the Supreme Court explained now that the present decision – to release them on bail – was made because the murder of the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

This decision was widely welcomed – as it initiates a reconsideration not only of what really happened five years ago, but it will also be necessary to clarify:

  • What went wrong with the investigation of the police, and why?
  • What went wrong at the initial court procedures, when evidence offered by the defense was disregarded, and why?
  • What went wrong when the Appeals Court on 12 April 2007 upheld the convictions of Born Samnang and of Sok Samoeun, in spite of many indications raised in the international and national public – including by the former King – that the initial process was flawed, and why was there no new investigation ordered by the Appeals Court?

There is hope that the present decision of the Supreme Court will lead to justice for the two persons who spent already five years in prison.

But tis is only one side of the problem. The Supreme Court created an opportunity like never before, to go into detail, to clarify what went wrong and why, and who may have to take responsibility for what went wrong, and bear the consequences according to the law.

Not a revision of old, or the promulgation of new legal procedure will make Cambodia a state under the law – only the strict application of the law will help to bring change.

There was never a better chance for this than since the recent decision by the Supreme Court.


Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...