Archive for March 16th, 2009

IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis! – Saturday, 14.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

Note:

Apologies for the rough language – it is the policy of The Mirror to provide readers of the English translations a glimpse at the sometimes rough world of Khmer journalism as it is – as always, without endorsing opinions expressed, nor being able to verify the veracity of original statements.

“A representative of the International Monetary Fund, Mr. John Nelmes [IMF Resident Representative in Cambodia], had predicted that Cambodia would encounter the consequences of the global economic crisis, and it is necessary to be prepared in advance.

“However, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, became angry and shouted that the Cambodian economy cannot decline as predicted by this person or by that person.

“It should be remembered that the IMF had warned recently, ‘Cambodia is heading toward an economic downturn and the GDP will decline to a growth rate of only 0.5% this year, after there was rigid growth during one whole decade.’

“Moreover, Mr. John Nelmes emphasized again on Thursday [12 March 2009], ‘The Cambodian economy is in a negative status, such instability happens in the context of a bleak global economic atmosphere. We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.’

“Mr. John Nelmes added, ‘Any hope for next year’s economic growth in Cambodia is not clear, because we foresee only 3% growth for 2010, but it might change.’

“Mr. Nelmes went on to say, ‘The export data of some countries are terrible, and the US retail sellers will have negative growth rates this year. This is not a good omen for garment exports.’

“Mr. Nelmes continued to say that also the high inflation in 2008, and the rising price of the dollar make Cambodia to become a more expensive goal for tourism.

“He predicted that tourism, which had an annual growth rate of nearly 20% during three or four years, decreased to around only 5% in 2008, and might also encounter negative growth rates in 2009. The selling of cars and of motorbikes dropped now by 50%, [for cars] and it had been down by 20% at the end of 2008, compared to the twelve months of the previous year.

“The executive director of the ANZ Royal Bank, Mr. Stephen Higgins, said that Cambodia needs cheaper electricity and more roads to encourage broader commercial exchanges.

“Mr. Higgins added that while one kilowatt/hour of electricity costs around US$0.05 in Vietnam, in Cambodia it can cost up to US$0.18, which is much more expensive than in Vietnam. He went on to say that the cost of transportation of agricultural goods in Cambodia is four times more expensive than in Thailand, adding, ‘This is a big difficulty. If the government wants to spend its money, it should spend it on anything that promotes the productivity in the country.’ He continued to say that although the agricultural structure might get improved and likely earn additional income, employment opportunities will be less. More production in different other sectors besides the garment sector will absorb a growing number of the labor force. The garment sector was producing more than half of the industrial output of the country, while food production earned only about 10 percent.

“Also, Mr. Higgins looks forward to the promise that there will be a Commercial Court to solve commercial disputes, which is a key factor to encourage investors.

“He added that corruption is still another concern for investors – different anti-corruption laws and regulations could solve this situation. He said, ‘Everything to clear up corruption will have long-lasting results.’

“Recently, a parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘The government has to recognize the serious situation of Cambodia and must not conceal it. And the government must really support the budget package of around US$500 million [proposed by the Sam Rainsy Party] to encourage the economy.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party said so after the Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, had dismissed the predictions about the dramatic downturn of the economy of the country, which suffers the impacts of the global economic crisis.

“The Prime Minister, who boasts about his political achievements, claimed proudly to protect this bad face, saying , ‘Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.’

“Because of this persistence, without recognizing what is right or wrong, Hun Sen predicted the future of the economy in Cambodia himself, ‘Cambodia will have 6% GDP growth in 2009.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen chatted lightly, referring to America, Europe, Japan, and Korea as elephants. He added, ‘The global economic crisis in Asia in 1997 was like a sheep that fell dead on the elephants’ legs. But now, the elephants died and fell on sheep’s legs.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the government still hides the rate of economic changes, they will be hurt by it in turn.’ He added that the IMF might make only few mistakes in their forecasting, which is technical and it is not colored by politics.

“He went on to say, ‘The government should not mix politics with technical problems.’

“The Cambodian economic growth, predicted for 2009 after just two or three months, was nearly 5%. However, on Friday last week [6 March 2009], the IMF listed Cambodia among the countries facing an economic slowdown.

“The IMF predicted that Cambodia will have another 0.5% drop in economic growth, because of the global economic crisis, and the decline of tourism, and of the construction and the garment sectors.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Cambodia Restricts to Climb to the Preah Vihear Temple, and a Siamese [Thai] Monk Is Arrested for Attempting to Climb to the Temple
  • The UN Drug and Crimes Office [in Cambodia] Hopes that [the former commander-in-chief, who has just been appointed as the 10th deputy prime minister in charge of drug administration] Mr. Ke Kim Yan Will Strongly Act to Combat Drugs
  • The Government Provides a Livelihood Allowance of Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5.00] per Month to Civil Servants
  • The Court Orders Police to Detain a Taiwanese Man and a Military Police Officer for International Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Security Companies Sign Agreements with the National Police Office to Promote Citizens’ Security
  • Japan, South Korea, and America Announce to Shoot Down a North Korean’s Satellite Launching

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1897, 14.3.2009

  • The National Election Committee Bars Foreign Passport Holders to Join the [district and provincial/city council] Election Campaign

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

  • IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6602, 14-15.3.2009

  • Senior Official of UNESCO [Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï] Promised to Work for a Sustainable Protection OF the Preah Vihear Temple [he said SO during his official visit to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man from Hong Kong Had 846 Gram of Heroin When He Wanted to Board a Plane [he was arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport]
  • The Iraqi Journalist Who Threw a Shoe at Mr. Bush Is Sentenced to Serve Three Years in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4845, 14.3.2009

  • The Minister of Labor [Mr. Vong Soth]: 99 Factories Are Closed, 78 Factories Are Opened, and 20,000 Unemployed Workers Are Seeking Jobs
  • Cambodian and America Look for Possibilities to Encourage Agricultural Production
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces to Allow the [national and international] Public to Attend [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Hearing [on 30 March 2009]
  • The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia
  • Vietnam Provides Documents and More Than 300 Photos Regarding the Khmer Rouge Regime

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak – Friday, 13.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], there are at present more than 1,000 trade unions of workers, including factory trade unions, tourism industry trade unions, construction workers trade unions, and informal economic sector trade unions. However, even though there are many trade unions, their freedom is still limited, they face discrimination from union to union, like threats and restrictions of their freedom of expression.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said, ‘There are surely many trade unions, but many of them do not have members at garment factories. Nevertheless, the Cambodian Federation of Trade Unions with the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers as a member has done a lot of work to demand different, improved working conditions for garment workers, especially also demands for salaries.’

“Mr. Rong Chhun added ‘If all trade unions unite into one, demands by workers of trade unions will be stronger. As for now, there are two kinds of unions, among them only a small number of trade unions work for garment workers, while a large number of trade unions are created just to have names, but there are no members from the factories in those trade unions.’

“A high ranking official of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Cheat Khemara, said that most disputes in factories happen, because demands of some trade unions are against the labor law, like the rate of major salary changes of garment workers, or disputes erupt when factory owners could not solve problems since the demands are against the law. If garment workers till trust those who provoke them without checking the labor law, both garment workers and owners, their employers, will lose benefits and the production of the garment industry, known to be a major force that made it possible for the Cambodian economy to grow so far, drops also.

“Mr. Khemara went on to say, ‘Activities which are against the law, do not strengthen law enforcement, and are burdened with individual interests that are against the development of the national economy.’

“The president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘At present, there are many trade unions of workers, but they do not have much substance.’ She explained that trade unions are not strong, because most of them are not independent, and they are under political influence.

“It should be noted that trade unions are weak because they do not yet have developed mutual solidarity, and sometimes, there is infiltration and fractionalism imported from outside. Also, all demands by trade unions seem not to be strongly focused by factory owners and by the government. As for the freedom of expression as well as to march and to demonstrate on a large scale, these activities are barred.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak
  • [Former commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Becomes [the tenth] Deputy Prime Minister, and [deputy national military police commander] Chhin Chanpor Becomes Deputy Commander of the Army [after the National Assembly provided a vote of confidence]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: An Advisor to [President of National Assembly and Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin Used a Weapon to Warn US Embassy Officials [the Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naruth, said that this person is identified, he works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this case was already been reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because the US Embassy lodged already a complaint]
  • The South Korean President [Mr. Lee Myung-Bak] Plans to Visit Cambodia in 2009
  • Pyongyang Will Launch a Satellite on 8 April 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1896, 13.3.2009

  • An Additional Punishment of 16 Years Imprisonment Was Added to Heng Pov, so that His Imprisonment Is Increased to 74 Years and 6 Months; His [five] Accomplices Received Additional 15 Years Imprisonment Each [for conspiracy to murder the commander of the National Military Police, Mr. Sao Sokha – based on an anonymous death threat letter]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #363, 13.3.2009

  • Documentary Movie about the Acid Attack on Ms. Tat Marina [known to have had an affair with a high ranking official] Was Shown in Geneva
  • [The big soccer betting company] CamboSix Demands US$12 Million from the Hole-in-Basket Government for Contract Violation [because their contract, valid until 2011, was canceled]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3710, 13.3.2009

  • Income from Garment Industry Declined by US$180 Million Compared to [January] 2008

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4844, 13.3.2009

  • The National Assembly Provided a Vote of Confidence for Ten New Members of the Royal Government [with 86 votes in favor among 87, and the opposition parties absent]
  • The National Election Committee Affirms Again that Only Four Parties Will Participate in the [District and Provincial/City] Council Elections [the Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and the Sam Rainsy Party]
  • There Are About 10 Mobile Phone Companies and More Than 4 Million Mobile Phones [according the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1671, 13-14.3.2009

  • Opposition Parties Boycott the Meeting of the National Assembly to Conduct a Vote of Confidence to Assign New Members of the Government

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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