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.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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