Archive for March 23rd, 2009

The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association Reacts against Hun Sen’s Announcement that There Is No Money to Increase the Salaries of Teachers- Saturday, 21.3.2009

Posted on 23 March 2009. Filed under: Week 604 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 604

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.
But I am now starting my return trip to Cambodia. According to schedule, I should be working again from Phonom Penh on Monday – first catching up with the delays, and then working again regularly.

Norbert Klein

“The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association strongly criticized Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday, 20 March 2009, after the Khmer Prime Minister announced during a convention to consider the Ministry of Education’s task, that he cannot increase salaries for teachers even though he wants to do so.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen, voted into office in a package vote, announced during the closure of the convention, ‘I would like to tell all of those who are responsible for tasks of supervision, that I do want to increase the teachers’ salaries, but our national budget is limited. Thus, we cannot increase the salaries of teachers beyond what they are now.

“Hun Sen, who rules the country with fear that his power is overthrown, said irresponsibly, ‘Where can we find money to increase teachers’ salaries? Moreover, now, that the global economy is declining and citizens who had earned much income before lose their income.’ He added that when the salaries of teachers or of civil servants are increased, they must be increased in a stable way.

“Reacting to the announcement of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said that if Prime Minister Hun Sen has the intention to increase teachers’ salaries, there will be no problem for the current government to do so. Mr. Rong Chhun believes that teachers’ salaries should be increased to between Riel 800,000 and Riel 1,000,000, corresponding to between US$200 and US$250, so that it is in line with their appropriate living standard.

“Mr. Rong Chhun added, ‘I think that the government has enough money to increase the teachers’ salaries, and it is possible if the Prime Minister wants to do it in order to improve the teachers’ daily livelihood.’ Mr. Rong Chhun went on to say that money to increase the salaries for teachers might be taken from taxation and from the elimination of corruption, and the simplest way is to stop spending money wastefully on delegations who always accompany Prime Minister to attend different forums.

“Mr. Rong Chhun continued to say, ‘As I know, a delegation member receives Riel 2,000,000 [approx. US$500] and additional expenses for gasoline when they accompany the prime minister to inaugurate different achievements, and for other missions. He said that there are more than 100,000 teachers in Cambodia nowadays, and 93% of them have another job besides teaching to seek additional income to support the family economy.

“According to the president of the Cambodian Teachers’ Association, at present, primary school teachers receive Riel 100,000 per month [approx. US$25] which is less than that of lower secondary school teachers who receive Riel 200,000 per month [approx. US$50] and high school teachers who receive Riel 250,000 [approx US$65] per month.

“According to a new report of the Education Partnership, 99% of teachers said that teachers’ salaries alone are not enough for them to live. The report stated that the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport for 2008 is twice more than that in 2000 – US$508,865,000 in 2008 compared to US$209,246,000 in 2000.

“In the same period, the initial salary of a [new] teacher has increased from US$20 to US$30 since 1999.

“The report said that at present, this amount of salaries cannot cover the daily needs of teachers, and teachers have no choice, besides trying to seek additional income by dong different jobs besides teaching.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and the spokesperson of the party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that if the Hun Sen government can prevent corruption, Hun Sen will not lack money to increase the salaries for teachers and for civil servants.

“Mr. Yim Sovann added that every year, millions of dollars from taxes are lost. Therefore, if Hun Sen could eliminate corruption in taxation, there will be no shortage of money to increase the salaries for teachers and for civil servants, such as police and soldiers.

“It should be noted that on 13 March 2009, the president of the biggest opposition party in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, wrote a letter to ask the prime minister to clarify the efficiency of law enforcement about finances in the national budget management for 2009.

“In that request, Mr. Sam Rainsy and opposition party parliamentarians said that in 2008, the taxation and the Water Supply Department collected about 60% of the total tax income which was high in the region. But in 2009, the Taxation and Water Supply Department requires that around US$585 million from tax is to be collected, which is an impossible amount due to the economic downturn which happened for two months in the early part of this year. Tax income is only US$64 million, compared to the same period in 2008 when it was US$86 million.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3717, 21-22.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #145, 21.3.2009

  • Child Sex Trafficking: Cambodia Is Ranked among Four Countries in Asia [the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand which are countries with an increasing number of child sex trafficking]
  • The World Bank Promises to Provide US$50 Million for Climate Change Projects in Cambodia
  • Vietnam Plans to Invest in Planting Rubber Trees in Cambodia and Laos [100,000 hectares in Cambodia and 100,000 hectares in Laos] while the Price of Rubber Declines [one tonne of raw rubber costs now more than US$1,200 in Cambodia]
  • The United States of America Affirms Not to Support the Independence of Tibet

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1903, 21.3.2009

  • Japan Provides US$200,000 to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Those Who Did Bad Deeds Receive Bad Deeds; Two Men Who Raped and Killed Two Little Girls [and hung their bodies on a tree] Were Handcuffed at Last [Pursat]
  • Millions of French Employees Demonstrate against the President [Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, demanding salary increases and work protection, while the economy declines]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #369, 21.3.2009

  • 12 Years Ago, there Was a Grenade Attack in Front of the National Assembly on Non-Violent Demonstrators [which killed about 20 people and inured more than 100]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6608, 21-22.3.2009

  • Sand Has Good Price to Be Sold to Singapore and Merchants Are Happy to Dredge It for Sale, while There Are Concerns of Landslides and about Natural Resources [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3717, 21-22.3.2009

  • The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association Reacts against Hun Sen’s Announcement that There Is No Money to Increase the Salaries of Teachers

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4841, 21.3.2009

  • Thai Parliament Members [from the Puea Thai Party] Demand Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Revoke the Word Calling Samdech Dekchor “Gangster”
  • A Man and His Adult Daughter Were Rolled over [by a truck] and Died Immediately [the truck driver escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • A Young Man Killed His Father to Help His Mother [when the man hit his wife with a stick to claim money from her, the son took another stick and hit his father to death, and then escaped – Kompong Speu]

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

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The Government Has to Check the Operation of the Naga Casino – Friday, 20.3.2009

Posted on 23 March 2009. Filed under: Week 604 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 604

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.
But I am now starting my return trip to Cambodia. According to schedule, I should be working again from Phonom Penh on Monday – first catching up with the delays, and then working again regularly.

Norbert Klein

“The president of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL – Mr. Kol Panha, told Kampuchea Thmey in the evening of 19 March 2009 that the government has to check the operation of the Naga Casino, and it has to fine it for an illegal operation. As he knows, it is only allowed that foreigners go in, and Khmer citizens are not allowed to gamble there. If the Naga Casino now dares to offer football betting, it is against the law, because the government has just closed all kinds of gambling sites, especially the football betting of the CamboSix Company, and all types of slot machine games.

“Mr. Kol Panha added, however, that the Royal Government should check the conditions of legally opening casinos in Phnom Penh, because – whether one agrees or not – there is criticism, when Khmer citizens are found to be allowed to enter those casinos, as it is not possible to prevent Khmer citizens from entering to gamble, because some powerful people like gambling, and [at present] they can exercise their authority to enter to gamble.

“Mr. Kol Panha added that another point that is considered to be inappropriate is, that the Naga Casino is facing a park made for the citizens of Phnom Penh, and it is near the Buddhist Institute, which is a place to provide religious education, and it is also close to the National Assembly, which is a place where laws are created which have to be implemented.

“Previously, the government allowed casinos to open along the borders, to attract foreign tourists – and Khmer citizens are barred to enter to gamble in those casinos, because they are for foreign tourists only. That is why many casinos are opened along the Thai and Vietnamese borders, while in Phnom Penh, there is only one casino, the Naga Casino, which the government has to monitor.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, told Rasmei Kampuchea that recently, he received information that football betting was added to the offers of the Naga Casino, after the Royal Government had closed all football betting sites. But the information that he got is not yet final, and he is observing this case. If this information is true, he will write to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to have this operation of the Naga Casino brought under control.

“Mr. Son Chhay emphasized that if the Naga Casino continues to run football betting secretly, after the Royal Government closed football betting, the Royal Government has to take action or punish this illegal operation.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that what the Ministry of Economy and Finance as well as the Royal Government must do urgently, is to create a clear legal situation to control gambling, in order to avoid fraudulent operations, which lead to a loss of state income. He added that he will write to the Ministry of Economy and Finance immediately to investigate the Naga Casino, to clarify whether it runs football betting secretly or not, because the CamboSix company was completely closed already, and the Naga Casino cannot run football betting. What is to be considered is that the Naga Casino has the permission to operate gambling which does not include football betting. Therefore, if the Naga Casino runs football betting, it is illegal and the Royal Government should do something.

“It should be noted that recently, after the Royal Government had decided to completely close down the CamboSix company and other gambling sites, it is heard that the Naga Casino secretly issues football betting forms to its customers, and this could lead to citizens secretly engage in football betting, and it leads to criticism that the government closes the small ones and keeps a big one.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1902, 20.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #144, 20.3.2009

  • China Sends Experts to Assist in the Health Sector in Cambodia
  • Two US Journalists Are Arrested in North Korea, Creating More Tensions

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #368, 20.3.2009

  • The Ministry of Defense Sells the Air Force Headquarters [along the Russian Boulevard on the way to the airport, to a private company and will relocate to new headquarters along the National Road 3]
  • The UN Human Rights Councils Will Summon Yuon [Vietnamese] Representatives to Respond to Human Rights Violations against Khmer Kampuchea Krom [on 8 May 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1902, 20.3.2009

  • The Government Has to Check the Operation of the Naga Casino
  • The Construction Sector of Cambodia Is Only Lightly Affected by the Global Economic Crisis [said a secretary of state of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Mr. Phoeung Sophoan]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6607, 20.3.2009

  • US Officials Announce Not to Take Sides in the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border Disputes, but Want to See a Peaceful Solution
  • After Having Done Rice Cultivation for More Than 10 Years [at a certain region near the border], Khmer Farmers Are Now Prevented by Siamese Black-Clad Soldiers to Plough Their Fields [Banteay Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #1717, 20.3.2009

  • UNESCO Asks Siam [Thailand] to Obey International Law in Solving Land Disputes at the Preah Vihear Regions

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4850, 20.3.2009

  • A Younger Brother of Lieutenant General Chhouen Chanthan [the chief of the bodyguards of the President of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim] Involved in Shooting with a Bodyguard of the Municipal Governor [Mr. Kep Chuktema], Causing One Death and Wounding Two People [the bodyguard of Mr. Chea Sim died, and a bodyguard of Mr. Kep Chuktema was wounded and escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • France and Germany Criticize Pope over His [anti-]Condom Statement [he Pope said that using condoms might lead to a more serious spread of AIDS]

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

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There Is No Standard of Products Yet, but Producers Are Reluctant – Thursday, 19.3.2009

Posted on 23 March 2009. Filed under: Week 604 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 604

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.
But I am now starting my return trip to Cambodia. According to schedule, I should be working again from Phonom Penh on Monday – first catching up with the delays, and then working again regularly.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: All products in Cambodia will be required to follow a national industrial standard when the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy has created an expert institute, according to a high ranking official of the ministry.

“The director of the Department of Industrial Standards of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ping Sivlay, said that after his institute will have created a new administration section and will have experts officials for managing it, the institute will organize standards for all products and will require their implementation countrywide, to provide safety to consumers in the country. He added that all products at markets will have to have standards, even for bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

“He said, ‘A one-meter-tube can last at least 700 hours, but because we have no set standard, one-meter tubes imported into our country can last between 300 and 400 hours maximally, then it will no longer be usable.’

“According to Mr. Sivlay, the Department of Industrial Standards of Cambodia will issue set standards soon, but he could not give a specific date. He just said that the ministry is organizing it.

“Mr. Sivlay went on to say, ‘We have two departments and are requesting the ministry to create two other departments.’

“Mr. Sivlay said that because so far, Cambodia does not have enough industrial standards, some local craftsmen that are producing various products, especially food products, are using some raw sources that can affect consumers’ health.

“Mr. Sivlay said that so far, the ministry had created standards for only 14 products, including for vinegar, fish sauce, rice powder, potato powder, chilly sauce, dry chilly, fresh water, bulbs, salt, and honey, and standards for the rest of about 100 products are being drafted.

“According to a document, the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy created standards since 2003, but only a very small number of producers ask for verification of their products according to these standards. The standards that the ministry created are categorized into two types: compulsory standards and voluntary standards. Among all products, compulsory standards are enforced by the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Energy for only three types of products: fresh water, vinegar, and chilly sauce, but the number of producers who abides by the standard is very small.

“Mr. Sivlay added that based on the statistic he has, so far, there are about 130 sites that produce fresh water, but only 20% of them ask for standard verification. There are 30 sites that produce chilly sauce, 30 sites that produce vinegar, but only one site asked for standard verification.

“Local producers do not ask for standard verifications, because they are reluctant regarding the efficiency of standards and regarding different irregular problems related to the provision of standards.

“The president of Khmer Natural Handcrafts, Mr. Pok Leak Rasy, said by telephone on 12 March 2009 that the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy creates standards which is a great initiative, but they exist only on paper and are not implemented.

“He said, ‘It is a good idea, but I am afraid that officials who have laws in their hand just take the opportunity to seek benefits.’

“He added that according to publications of the ministry, his palm tree vinegar is also included in the compulsory standards of the ministry, yet he has not asked for standard verification, because so far, he sees that some other vinegar products are on the market that are made with acid, but they also received standard labels.

“He stated, ‘It is not because I do not have money to request for standard verification, but if I ask for that standard, it seems that my products are not different from those products.’

“Besides Khmer Natural Handicrafts, an owner of a fresh water enterprise that asked not to be named also expressed similar view.

“He added that if the law requires respect of the standards, he will follow, but his enterprise will not ask for it, because he has no trust in those standards.

“He emphasized, ‘Some fresh water enterprises label standards on their products and on cars, but when [fresh water] bottles are opened, there are mosquito larvae in the water and the quality is like normal water. Therefore, that standard is useless at markets, and only the consumers will decide.’

“The assistant of Mekong Food Production, Mr. Pich Chan, said the same day that so far, he has not thought about this problem, since the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy has not created standards for drinks produced by his enterprise, adding, ‘We will start thinking about it when the standard has been created.’

“Regarding this problem, Mr. Sivlay said that generally, when talking about standard problems, local producers seem to have a lot of concerns; however, the standards, indeed, do not make them to face complications or corruption, but it is just an efficient measure to promote the quality of their goods or products, and to encourage just competition.

“He added that because there are no such standards in Cambodia, most consumer goods at markets do not have a high quality, and as for food products, they mostly contain high amounts of chemicals or they are produced without having enough nutritional substances for health.

“He continued to say, ‘Based on previous experiments, we found that some fish sauce and soy sauce have nutritional substance of only 7%, while international standard say that there must be at least 15% of nutritional substances.’

“He added that because we do not have proper standards, some types of fish sauce at the markets are just made of salt and sugar with water and mixed with substances with a little odor. Then, they are put for sale at the markets. But if we have clear standards, they will no longer be able to use that method, and if they still use it, they might be fined or punished.

“He said, ‘When our departments start their operations, newspapers will have a lot of news about such punishments.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4849, 19.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #41, 19.3.2009

  • The European Community Does Not Provide Funds to the National Election Committee for District and Provincial/City Elections [but provides a legal expert and a technical expert]
  • Fire Destroyed 15 Houses near the Chinese Embassy [Phnom Penh]

 
Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #143, 19.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: 18 March 1970 Is the Day That War Erupted, but 18 March 2009 Is the Day that Japan Granted Aid [of more than US$40 million for mine clearance and clean water supply]
  • Samdech Dekchor Criticized Those Who Have Earned Degrees but Do Not Have Quality
  • Police Crack Down On Drugs in Large Scale, Arresting Three and Confiscating More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets [Phnom Penh]

 
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1901, 19.3.2009

  • Banteay Meanchey and Sra Kaeo Officials Request to Open New Border Crossing Point to Expand Commerce and Tourism [between Cambodia and Thailand]
  • America and Food Aid Agencies Said that North Korea Rejected Food Aid
  • [Russian President] Medvedev Orders Weapons in Large Scale to
    arm the Russian Soldiers Again

 
Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6606, 19.3.2009

  • Vietnam Will Provide an Intercom System Worth US$500,000 [to the Cambodian police]
  • Sen Sok District Police Suppresses [two] AK-47 Rifle Robbers Who Planned to Commit Robbery [Phnom Penh]

 
Mate Nak, Vol.2, #25, 18-24.3.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Attend the ASEAN + 3 Summit [in Thailand in April]

 
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #1715, 19.3.2009

  • Victims Demand the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Define the Date to Hear Four Other Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Soon [Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khiev Samphan, and Nuon Chea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4849, 19.3.2009

  • There Is No Standard of Products Yet, but Producers Are Reluctant
  • Mining and Electricity Are on the Discussion Agenda between a Vietnamese Delegation and the Ministry of Industry of Cambodia
  • If There Had Been No Coup on 18 March 1970 [by General Lon Nol, to oust Prince Sihanouk as Head of State], How Prosperous the Country Would be!
  • Two Members of the National Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party [Mr. Kong Korm and Mr. Son Chhay] Will Become Members of a Commission
  • A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Attacked [to rob her gold ear rings], But Did Not Die, but Was Wounded [she was also stabbed],then Came from the Forest to Ask for Help [police are seeking to arrest a 19-year-old female suspect – Kompong Chhnang]

 
Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1676, 19.3.2009

  • Former US Ambassador [Mussomeli] Said that the Paris Peace Agreements Are Still Valid and Valuable
  • Citizens in the Northeast Oppose the Construction of Hydro-Electric Dams along the Mekong River [since fish, the source of their food and income, will be threatened]

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

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