Archive for May, 2009

Civil Society: The US$18 Million Budget Can Only Assist Farmers Indirectly – Saturday, 30.5.2009

Posted on 31 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“Phnom Penh: A civil society organization which works in agriculture claimed that the US$18 million allocated by the National Assembly as a foundation to assist agriculture and agro-industry can only help farmers indirectly, and some said that it is not oriented into the right direction.

“The president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture – CEDAC – Mr. Yang Saing Koma, said on 29 May 2009 that the resources allocated by the National Assembly are good news for farmers, but they can only help them indirectly.

“He explained, ‘These resources can only help big enterprises, but there is no direct benefit for farmers.

“Mr. Saing Koma added that farmers might not benefit from them unless they are used to help farmers enhance their ability in doing farming, or to help them technically while the farming season is arriving, and to increase their yields and find specific markets for them. Doing this they will directly gain benefits, but the presently allocted resources can only help them partly.

“Apparently, the resources might be offered in the form of loans by the government to support different enterprises financially, and especially to those related to increase capital to buy rice to store it and other products from farmers for export, after several rice millers had announced that they lack capital to buy rice in the country. However, it was criticized that this measure seems to be somewhat late, because the harvesting season this year has almost finished.

“Mr. Saing Koma said, ‘I think that such a budget should have been adopted since December or January 2008, because so far, the harvesting season has almost passed, but if it is for next year, then it is good.’

“Regarding the adoption of this budget, an official from a farmer association who asked not to be named seems to agree with Mr. Saing Koma; he said that helping mainly big enterprises can only provide jobs to people with low salaries, while obviously about 80% of the farmers in Cambodia still encounter difficulties. He added that if they really want to help farmers, they have to ensure that there is a real market for farmers, and this should be enough.

“He went on to say that so far, 70% to 80% of the local market is occupied by neighboring countries’ products, as farmers are not much cared for directly.

“Related to the market for local products, Phnom Penh is not the only place, but farmers can hardly find markets for their products also at provinces.

“A vegetable vendor in Siem Reap, Mr. Sim Veasy, said that generally, farmers in Siem Reap nowadays say that vegetables for this well-known tourism city are all imported from neighboring countries, and many local farmers cannot produce much vegetables because they do not have the necessary capital.

“He added, ‘The 10 tonnes of vegetables in Siem Reap are all imported, while most Khmer farmers have only one basket of vegetables to sell.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4907, 30.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 30 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #198, 30.5.2009

  • Parliamentarian Ho Vann [of the Sam Rainsy Party] Is Summoned to Court over a Complaint Filed against Him by [22] Military Officials [for defamation – he had questined the academic value of the degrees they had received from Vietnam, but later he apologized already]
  • The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia Will Observes the US$400 Million Provided by the Government to Assist the Garment Sector [but it is hard to know the real amount available for the garment industry]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1957, 30.5.2009

  • AIDS Officials Are Concerned about a Second Wave of HIV in Cambodia [if there is no clear strategy how to implement the fight against AIDS]
  • Four Men Are Arrested for Smuggling Drugs [in Kratie]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #414, 30.5.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party Parliamentarians Walk Out of the Meeting [of the National Assembly about the adoption of a draft about the protection and promotion of disabled people, because the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, had not announced the draft amendment to them before the meeting]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6663, 30-31.5.2009

  • The Provinces of Kampot and of Kien Giang [Kiên Giang of Vietnam] Set Up 13 Border Markers [and inaugurated a new border crossing: Ton Hon-Yang Tanh [[phonetic]] ]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3771, 30-31.5.2009

  • Civil Society League Gathers for a Concert to Encourage the Adoption of an Anti-Corruption Law Soon [the Clean Hands Concert will be organized at the Olympic Stadium in the evening of 30 May 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4907, 30.5.2009

  • Civil Society: The US$18 Million Budget Can Only Assist Farmers Indirectly
  • Compensation for [the burning of] the Preah Vihear Market: Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Says They Wait for the Results of an Investigation First
  • Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s Issue Was Raised during the ASEAN-European Union Meeting [during the meeting, the Burmese deputy-minister of foreign affairs suggested to the ASEAN ministers of foreign affairs and especially to the European ministers of foreign affairs to understand, and not to intervene into the internal affair of Burma]
  • A Well-Known Construction Company of Japan [Tama Home – タマホーム株式会社 – capital base roughly US$8 million] Comes to Invest in Cambodia
  • Cambodia Asks for Hundreds of Millions of Dollar from China [according to a Cambodian delegation from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodia asked China to provide more than US$1.3 billion to support the development of different sectors]
  • Hungary Cancels Half of Cambodia’s Debt and the Remaining Will Be Turned into Aid for Development Cooperation [at least US$216,659 – the total debt was roughly US$400.000]

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Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Do Not Cooperate with the Co-Investigating Judges – Friday, 29.5.2009

Posted on 30 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“The co-investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal told journalists that four former Khmer Rouge high ranking leaders do not cooperate with the investigations.

“This statement was made by the Cambodian co-investigating judge You Bunleng in a press conference at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on Thursday, organized by the Administration Office.

“Mr. You Bunleng told reporters, ‘Since we monitor them in detention and their defense lawyers ask questions so that they can explain some things raised by the co-investigating judges, they reject to answer by using the right to refuse to give evidence – that means there are no answers.’

However, Mr. You Bunleng did not mention the names of the four accused, but he just said he is talking about ‘the second case’ and the people can know that the second case relates to the four former Khmer Rouge leaders Khiev Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith, who are now in pre-trial detention at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“The co-investigating judge You Bunleng added that because the right to refuse to give evidence is an absolute right of the accused, the co-investigating judges office must use additional investigating techniques.

“Mr. You Bunleng continued to say, ‘The fact that the accused do not talk can slow the investigations, because the lawyers ask us to consider many questions when we deal with each case.’

“Regarding the timing of the investigation, Mr. You Bunleng said that it is not yet clear. By 20 May 2009, the co-investigating judges’ office has interviewed 453 witnesses, including more than 10 foreign experts.

“But in the second case, there are 61 people standing as civil plaintiffs. He went on to say that the investigations being conducted are joint investigations for all of the accused, while the 453 witnesses relate to different accused persons.

“During the questioning on Wednesday, the prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal tried to describe former S-21 prison chief Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, as a person who made important and active decisions to thoroughly purge the Khmer Rouge air force in 1977 from unreliable members.

“Nevertheless, the accused, known as Duch, claimed that he only strictly followed orders from superiors for the S-21 prison, to kill hundreds of staff from the Central Committee of the Unit 502 which was located at the former Pochentong Airport – now the Phnom Penh International Airport.

“The execution lists of the S-21 Prison show that at least 299 people from the Unit 502 had been sent to the S-21 Prison and were then executed.

“According to nine letters written in 1977 by the former secretary-general of the Unit 502, Mr. Sou Met, to Duch, 50 people were mentioned. A senior assistant of the prosecutors, Mr. Alex Baid, asked Duch, ‘Did Mr. Sou Met order interrogations to gain information from some specific people detained?’

“Duch told the court that he had no direct relations with Mr. Sou Met and said that the letters of Mr. Sou Met were really written following the orders from anonymous superiors.

“Duch said, ‘Everything was sent through Son Sen or Nuon Chea in the following time. That was just Son Sen’s and Nuon Chea’s method to hide their names. Those letters were sent as if they came from Mr. Sou Met for me.’

“He added, ‘I had no direct relations with Mr. Sou Met, neither though phone nor through direct contact with him.’

“Because he was accused, according to his position from which he purged the Unit 502, Mr. Sou Met was considered by the deceased lawyer Brian Tittemore and by the Khmer Rouge historian Stephen Heder, who were former investigators of the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in 2004, as one among seven persons ‘to be prosecuted.’ Being contacted repeatedly by phone on Wednesday, Mr. Sou Met rejected to talk to journalists.

“However, under questioning of the plaintiffs’ defense lawyer, Ms. Elizabeth Rabesandratana, Duch admitted that the information he offered to his superiors badly affected the victims.

“Duch said, ‘My reports did influence decisions of the superiors. However, when I met with the superiors, I was only responding to their questions.'” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #413, 29.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #197, 29.5.2009

  • A Burmese Court Dismisses the Witnesses of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [the Burmese elected democracy leader]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1956, 29.5.2009

  • Cambodia Starts Implementing the Program “Stop Smoking Cigarettes to Win Rewards” for the First Time [a cigarette smoker can pair with a non-smoker in order to gain advice to stop smoking, and when they can prove they were successful and the smoker stopped smoking, they can win motorbikes or other rewards]
  • North Korea Warns to Attack US and South Korean Warships [if found in disputed regions of the sea]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #413, 29.5.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Do Not Cooperate with the Co-Investigating Judges
  • UNESCO Will Assess the Impacts on the Angkor Wat Temple in Late May [from electricity wireing – according to an official of UNESCO for Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6662, 29.5.2009

  • The 17th ASEAN-Europe Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh [focused on six [???] major points: the economic and financial crisis, climate and environmental changes, food security and energy, the spread of weapons and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, social security, and infectious diseases]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3770, 29.5.2009

  • [UN co-investigating judge] Marcel Lemonde Warns He Might Walk Out from the Khmer Rouge Trial [because of many issues, including the not neutrally clarified kickback corruption allegations relating to officials on the Cambodian side]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4906, 29.5.2009

  • [The Phnom Penh governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Sues [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy for Defamation [Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the governor is behind the buying of votes of some Sam Rainsy Party commune councilors]
  • At Least 50,000 Garment Workers Lose Jobs [and the jobless workers lose more than US$2 million per month]
  • A New Record at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court: An Accused Is Sentenced to Serve 84 Years in Prison and Another One 98 Years Starting from the Day of Arrest [for conducting 14 robberies]
  • Cambodia Wants Poland to Help to Train how to Conserve Musical Records and Films
  • America Praises Health Organizations in Cambodia for Promoting Women’s Health
  • Korean Volunteers Still Work Actively [in Cambodia] in 2009 despite the Global Economic Crisis [since 2003, 173 Korean volunteers have been sent by the South Korean government to work at different institutions of Cambodia]
  • Almost 100% of Enterprises in Cambodia Are Small and Medium Scale Enterprises [according to the Ministry of Commerce]

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UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Calls for Moratorium on Evictions – Thursday, 28.5.2009

Posted on 28 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

nda"In its first review of the compliance by Cambodia with a principal human rights treaty, an independent UN panel calls for a moratorium on evictions in Cambodia. UN human rights officials ask the Cambodian government to make more efforts to stop the abuses and evictions of sick, poor, and powerless people.

“Many recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights call on Cambodia to ensure that its courts really protect human rights, end the culture of violence and impunity in Cambodia, and spend more time on social services for housing, food, and education. According to an advance copy of the recommendations released on Monday 25 May 2009 – the final document had not yet been released – Cambodia fails to observe the most important parts of the International Covenant of 1976 on economic, social, and cultural rights, which are considered to be an important part of the International Bill of Human Rights.

Note:

The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the following:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty

“It is assumed that the committee of 18 legal experts expressed their position with strong words on Cambodia because of the general documented criticism by different human rights organizations, and the decision of the Cambodian government not to send expert representatives to attend the review panel of the UN committee on 11 and 12 May 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. Cambodia sent only two people to meet with the UN committee, including the Cambodian ambassador to Switzerland Sun Suon. The difficult man Om Yentieng, the chairperson of the government’s Cambodian Committee on Human Rights, could not yet be reached for comment about the voice of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

“It should be noted that the first report of Cambodia sent to the UN committee was in 1994. Moreover, regular reports of donor countries about the progress of the recommendations of the UN committee said that that Cambodians are insecure in their homes, health, and education. Also thousands of powerless people have been evicted.

“The review report said, ‘The committee is gravely concerned over reports that since the year 2000, over 100,000 people were evicted in Phnom Penh alone; that at least 150,000 Cambodians continue to live under the threat of forced eviction; and that authorities of the state party are actively involved in land-grabbing.’ The committee urges the state party to implement a moratorium on all evictions until the proper legal framework is in place, and the process of land titling is completed, in order to ensure the protection of human rights of all Cambodians, including indigenous people” [quoted from The Cambodia Daily].

“Regarding the above recommendations, the parliamentarian Cheam Yeap from the Cambodian People’s Party from Prey Veng, said that the call for a moratorium is an intervention by foreigners into Cambodian affairs. The much talking man Cheam Yeap explained the eviction measures of the government, ‘They are part of the plan to develop the country and the cities.’ Moreover, he accused some villagers of exaggerating their numbers in order to receive compensation.

“Cambodia has signed the nine so-called core human rights treaties and ratified or acceded to six of them. However, like many other countries, Cambodia has often delayed or disregarded the requirements of reporting on its observance of the treaties. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors observance of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reviewed Cambodia in 1999 but has not heard from the government since.

Note:

There are eight human rights treaty bodies that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties:

  • Human Rights Committee (CCPR)
  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • Committee Against Torture (CAT) & Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) – Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW)
  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

There are nine core international human rights treaties, one of which – on enforced disappearance – has not yet entered into force.

“The UN committee’s concluding observations welcomed what it called positive developments, such as the 2007 findings by the Constitutional Council, saying that ratified human rights treaties have to be observed by Cambodian courts, and the adoption in the same year of a new Penal Code, as well as plans to increase the share of women in the civil service. The committee, however, called for the creation of an independent Cambodian human rights body, the adoption of the 14-year-old draft anti-corruption law, and that social impact assessments should be carried out when economic concessions are granted within Cambodia’s protected areas.

“In a global study of the observance of the treaties, law professors Christof Heyns and Frans Vijoen of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, found that because of criticism from treaties bodies, Russia had significantly reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, Egypt had released prisoners held under emergency legislation, and the Colombian government abolished the use of armed civilian militias in its ongoing civil war.

“‘The unfortunate result is that the countries that most often end up being singled out as human rights violators are those where there is also active engagement. Within the system, more criticism seems to be the response for a higher level of engagement,’ according to the study. Jan Klabbers, deputy director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki/Finland, said the public should temper what it expects of the UN human rights treaties [the four paragraphs above are also quoted from The Cambodia Daily]

“Human rights observers in Cambodia said that the call of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights for a moratorium on evictions to the Khmer government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen is in line with the obvious situation, since in recent years, hundreds of Khmer families have been evicted violently and unjustly by the Hun Sen government, colluding with dishonest merchants. Obviously, more than 4,000 families in the Boeng Kak Lake area are facing eviction, because the Hun Sen government already handed over the land in that area to the Shukaku company for construction development, without caring about the impact on the life of the residents. Therefore, the UN committee has to observe the activities of the Hun Sen government carefully in order to prevent high ranking officials of the government from colluding with dishonest merchants to mistreat poor citizens as they like.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3769, 28.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 28 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #196, 28.5.2009

  • Armed Forces Are Used to Implement the Judgment to Seize Innocent Citizens’ Houses Unjustly; Villagers Offer Their Thumbprints to Supports [two] Victimized Families [who has lived on their land since 1983 – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]
  • Garment Buying Order from Cambodia May Rise by 10% at the International Market
  • ,Cambodia Receives 400,000 Kilowatt/hours of Electricity from Vietnam per Day [since the operation began, connected from Vietnam]
  • otObama Nominates Hispanic Woman [Ms. Sonia Sotomayor] to the Supreme Court

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1955, 28.5.2009

  • About 100 Civil Society Activists and Burmese People Demand the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [in front of the Burmese Embassy in Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #412, 28.5.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Agrees to Allow Khmer Kampuchea Krom People to Celebrate the Commemoration of the Territory’s Loss

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6661, 28.5.2009

  • New Monivong Bridge Is Inaugurated, and a Fly-Over Road Construction Site Is Opened [Phnom Penh]
  • Prime Minister Samdech [Hun Sen] Asks Petroleum Companies to Increase and Decrease Fuel Prices Following the International Market Price Movements

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3769, 28.5.2009

  • UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Calls on the Khmer Government to Stop Evicting Citizens

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4905, 28.5.2009

  • The ASEAN-European Union Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting [in Phnom Penh] Began with a Call to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks Development Partners and Different Companies to Use the Human Resources of Cambodia
  • New Zealand Will Increase Aid for Cambodia to US$5 Million per Year
  • The Czech Republic Returns Money [US$800,000] Which Cambodia Had Paid Back to Clear a Dept – but the Czech Republic Donates it to Cambodia to Assist the Heath Sector
  • Cambodia and Thailand Sign Deal to Strengthen Construction Quality
  • The Royal Government Decides to Hand Over the Former National Assembly Building to the Supreme Court

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UNDP Releases Report on Cambodian Economy – Wednesday, 27.5.2009

Posted on 28 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“Phnom Penh: Economists of the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, for Cambodia, said that Cambodia needs more investments in the education and the welfare sectors for the labor force in order to encourage economic growth and alleviate poverty.

“In a press conference to present an UNDP report on Monday, 25 May 2009, Mr. Brooks Evans, an economist, said, ‘Cambodia now does not have workers with sufficient skills, and this is a priority problem that needs the most help to improve the economy.’ The UNDP report, which studied the competitiveness of Cambodia in the global economy, ranks Cambodia below other ASEAN countries.

“Mr. Brooks Evans added, ‘Several regulations and formulas make investors from the USA, from Europe, and from Japan withdraw their operations from Cambodia, which is one of the world’s poorest countries, and Cambodia loses many foreign investors.’

“The report continued to say that 30% of the more than 14 million Cambodian people live with an average income of only US$0.50 per day. The sector of agriculture represents 32% of the GDP in Cambodia.

“Tourism grows also, like in 2008, there were more than 2 million foreign tourists who visited Cambodia. This sector contributes one firth of the national economy, and it is an important sector to boost the economy with income from foreign countries. Also, Tourism creates new job opportunities and a new job market for local people, working to provide different services and gaining benefits.

“Also, the UNDP report shows the competitiveness in information technology and in Information Communication Technology, which grew by 32% per year during the recent five years, and the increase added up to US$429 million. At present, 3.5 million people in Cambodia, or one fourth, are using mobile phones. [The UNDP report criticized, however, that there is no adequate regulation, while the government has already licensed nine mobile phone providers – though some have blocked connectivity to competitors, resulting in problems. ‘There appears to be no control over this in Cambodia.’]

“There is growth also in the garment sector. But at present, there are many challenges because of the impact of the global economic crisis. Textile factories in Cambodia contributed 12% of the GDP, when the garment export contributed 72% of the overall product export in 2007. This sector employs more than 300,000 workers.

“Another sector, which contributed to improving the economy, is the construction sector, which was growing in recent years and earned US$500 million in 2003 and increased this to US$3.2 billion in 2007. But nowadays, Cambodia pays the least wages to the [construction] labor force among all ASEAN countries, which is only US$4.50 per day, compared to US$7 dollar per day in Thailand.

“The report adds that Cambodia is moving [very slowly] towards global economic competition, moving up one rank to position 109 among 134 countries in 2008-2009; and it moved up by 15 ranks in a trade report of the World Bank among 135 countries. However, Cambodia is still almost at the bottom, compared to other ASEAN countries in the education and in the welfare sectors.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #195, 27.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #195, 27.5.2009

  • UNDP Releases Report on Cambodian Economy
  • Burma Is Not on the Official Agenda of the ASEAN-Europe Meeting [held in Phnom Penh on 27 and 28 May 2009 – according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]
  • The United Nations Condemns the North Korean Nuclear Test

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1954, 27.5.2009

  • The World Bank Asks Cambodia to Improve the Situation of Small-Scale Enterprises Immediately [to withstand the global economic crisis]
  • Coming Back from Being Sprinkled with Water by a Monk [to be blessed], an Engaged Couple and Their Sister Were Crushed by an Overturned Truck; the Couple Died and the Sister Is Seriously Injured [Kompong Chhnang]
  • Two Groups of Teenagers Attacked Each Other in a House Running Games, Shooting Five Bullets Resulting in Two People Seriously Wounded [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #66, 27.5.2009

  • The [Banteay Meanchey] Authorities Go to Check the Banteay Chhma Temple before Requesting It to Be Listed as a World Heritage Site

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3768, 27.5.2009

  • The Vietnamese Authorities Prevent Khmer Citizens from Building Houses along the Border in Ratanakiri [claiming that it is their territory]
  • [Former Thai minister of Foreign Affairs] Noppadon Pattama Asks [Thai prime minister] Abhisit to Claim the Preah Vihear Temple from Cambodia Back

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4904, 27.5.2009

  • The United Nations Warns of the Dangers from Buildings Constructed without Proper Quality in Cambodia
  • The Khmer Civilization Foundation Asks the Royal Government to Remove Electricity from the Angkor Wat Temple
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Asks the USA and Australia to Help to Provide High Speed Ships to the Cambodian Navy
  • ASEM Calls for the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]
  • New DVD [developed by Australian scientists] Can Store 2,000 Movies [or 8.5 gigabytes]

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Witness Talks about Armed Conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam – Tuesday, 26.5.2009

Posted on 27 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Nayan Chanda, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review based in Hong Kong and also a collector of information during the war in Vietnam before and after the Khmer Rouge regime, appeared to testify in the case to hear Mr. Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda is the second foreign witness after Mr. Craig Etcheson to testify in the Khmer Rouge court on the implementation of the policy of the Cambodian Communist Party at the S-21 Center, and of armed conflicts during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“In front of the Khmer Rouge criminal court on Monday, 25 May 2009, Mr. Nayan Chanda – 63, Indian – mentioned the book titled Brother Enemy – the War after the War. The book was written by Mr. Nayan Chanda during the 1980s detailing the relations between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge, when Vietnam became the enemy of the Khmer Rouge. [Brother Enemy – the War after the War. Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986, 480 pages.]

BrotherEnemy

“Mr. Nayan Chanda, now Senior Research Scholar of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, in the United States, appeared at the Khmer Rouge criminal court to explain the armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese forces to the chamber.

“Sitting in front of the judges in the hearing room, Mr. Nayan Chanda said that Vietnamese troops and Khmer Rouge troops closely cooperated and had good relations after the coup to oust Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk in 1970. Vietnam helped the Khmer Rouge to overthrow the Lon Nol regime in 1975. But the good relations between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge began to break down when the Khmer Rouge came to power on 17 April 1975.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda, who had interviewed high ranking leaders of the Khmer Rouge and of Vietnam, went on to say that armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops became serious in late 1977 and early 1978. The first armed clash occurred along the border where troops of the Khmer Rouge and of Vietnam attacked each other.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda noted that in May 1977, the Khmer Rouge decided to carry the fight into Vietnam rather than to withstand the Vietnamese troops’ attacks. Vietnam was considered by the Khmer Rouge as having the intention to invade Cambodia to enlarge its country, according to an Indochina Federation policy. At that time, Khmer Rouge leaders ordered the eastern region to carry the fight into Vietnam, and Mr. Hun Sen (the current Cambodian prime minister), was at that time a member of the Khmer Rouge troops, and he was assigned to be responsible for that plan. However, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen later told Mr. Steve Heder (a foreign journalist) that he (Samdech Hun Sen) did not follow his superiors’ order to attack Vietnam, and he then escaped into the forest.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda continued to say that at different border regions, the Khmer Rouge launched attacks on some Vietnamese villages along the Cambodian border.

“The diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Vietnam became weaker and were later cut off, in late 1977, after Vietnam opened a large-scale attack on Cambodia in October 1977. Vietnam attacked Cambodia along the border by air, and sent 50 tanks more than 10 km into Cambodian territory in Svay Rieng in January 1978 to attack Khmer Rouge troops that were supported by China.

“The armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam was mentioned in an US report, and it was published by many internationally well-known newspapers.

“Regarding the armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, Mr. Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, who was sitting and listening to the witness, said that the conflict resulted from a dispute between the Cambodian Communist Party and the Vietnamese Communist Party, but he has little knowledge about that.

“But Duch claimed, ‘Regarding armed conflicts between the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese at that time, I knew only two places. One place was the Plae Santouch region at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border at the far end of Mondolkiri, and the other place was at the sea border.’

“Anyway, Kaing Kek Eav claimed confidently that Pol Pot struggled to protect the country and was clever in defending its integrity, and he was able to maintain the territory of Cambodia. Pol Pot did not allow the Indochina plan to be put into practice on Cambodian territory. But in 1976, the Vietnamese [communist party] president Le Duan [Lê Duẩn] still declared that Vietnam is the father of an Indochina Federation. The history shows that the Indochina Federation policy of Vietnam intended that the neighboring countries, especially Cambodia, should be under the control of Vietnam.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, will appear again at the chamber hearing of Duch on Tuesday, 26 May 2009, to finish testifying about the facts of the armed conflict between Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4903, 26.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #194, 26.5.2009

  • A Japanese Couple Is Sent to Hospital for Alleged A/H1N1 infection [after checking, they were confirmed not to be with this infection – Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1953, 26.5.2009

  • In the Morning, a Man Raped and Killed a [10-year-old] Girl, and in the Evening He Raped Her [7-year-old] Sister [the perpetrator is arrested – Kompong Chhnang]
  • Experts [officials of the Apsara Authority and historian Michael Trane] Said that There Is No Drilling to Set Up Electricity [at Angkor Wat, and they claimed that the dropped down stone pieces are decayed stone]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6659, 26.5.2009

  • An Australian Tourist Who Escaped to Cambodia Is Arrested Following the Request of the [Australian] Federal Police [for child pornography]
  • Khmer-Thai-Laotian and Burmese Journalists to Talk about the Publication of Information [in Bangkok]
  • North Korea Has Conducted a Second [successful] Nuclear Weapons Test Surprisingly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3767, 26.5.2009

  • Witness of Duch’s Case [Mr. Nayan Chanda, Indian] Claimed [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Was a Member of the Khmer Rouge [who joined actively to fight against Vietnam, but then escaped to Vietnam only to avoid being arrested by the Khmer Rouge – the spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, does not comment, saying that it is an affair at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Fishing Boats Come to Do Fishing in the Khmer Sea Territory in Kampot Every Day, because They Are Permitted by the Fishery Administration Police

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4903, 26.5.2009

  • Witness Talks about Armed Conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam
  • Samdech Euv [the King Father] Blesses the Cambodian People’s Party to Win the Elections Forever
  • Cambodian Economy in 2009 Encounters Never-Faced Rain Storm [the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that the collapse of big enterprises in other parts of the world is threatening the export of Cambodia, and lessens the investment speed remarkably]
  • Korean President [Lee Myung-Bak] Encourages Cooperation to Produce Films between Cambodia and Korea

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Holes Are Drilled into the Angkor Wat Temple to Attach Electric Bulbs – Who Is Wrong? The Sou Ching Company, the Tuy Nasy Company, or the Apsara Authority? – Monday, 25.5.2009

Posted on 25 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“Siem Reap: It has been five days already that the Sou Ching company, which is responsible for collecting money from foreign tourists who visit the Angkor Wat Temple during the night, drills some holes into the walls of the Angkor Wat Temple, in order to install electric bulbs to light different places of the Angkor Wat Temple. On Saturday morning of 23 May 2009, this resulted in strong criticisms from national and international tourists, because they think that it is destroying the Angkor Wat Temple, and this action should not be allowed.

“In that morning, obviously, there were about 20 bulbs attached, fixed into the holes drilled into the walls of the Angkor Wat Temple, at the northern and western long corridors.

“Pieces of stone were found on the ground, dropped down from the drilling to set up electric lights. When journalists asked experts of the Apsara Authority and of the Sou Ching company who was drilling the holes in the temple walls, they denied that they were doing it.

“But when journalists, tourist guides, and international tourists standing near the place showed pieces of stone of the temple which had dropped down on them as evidence to the head of the department for temple conservation in the Angkor Park of the Apsara Authority, Ms. Mao La Or, they admitted they had drilled holes into the walls to install electric bulbs.

“First, Ms. Mao La Or said that nobody had drilled holes as they were accused, but then she admitted it had happened. She said so after she had called an expert of the Apsara Authority at the Angkor Wat, an expert on the weathering of stones to check, Mr. Kham Mao, to check the site, and he found that holes had been drilled into the stones.

“Ms. Mao La Or told journalists with tearful eyes that the Sou Ching company, responsible for collecting money from tourists who visit the Angkor Wat Temple during the night, had nothing done wrong, but the blame should be put on the Tuy Nasy company, because this company is responsible for installing electricity. Though she claimed so, tourist guides and national and international tourists still accused the managing officials of the Angkor Wat Temple, the Apsara Authority, of making a most serious mistake, destroying national property, because the Angkor Wat Temple is a World Cultural Heritage, listed as a World Heritage Site since 1992.

“A tourist guide from the Siem Reap Angkor region, Mr. Sar Arun, who stood at the wall into which holes had been drilled, said that they should not have done so, and it is absolutely not a good idea, because the drilling has already destroyed many parts of the temple.

“Mr. Sar Arun added the question about setting up bulbs which get very hot at the wall of the temple. It will make the priceless temple get cracks and decay, and the future life of our Angkor Wat Temple will be shorter.

“Another tourist guide from the Siem Reap Angkor region, Mr. Sim Sokunthea, said the Apsara Authority, which has authority in this sector, should not allow this. He said so while he was looking with regrets at the continuing dropping pieces of stone from the Angkor Wat Temple walls into which holes were being drilled.

“A Spanish woman, Ms. Carolina Armandi, who was visiting the Angkor Wat Temple, saw what was happening; she said that everything should be kept natural without making any changes. She wanted to state that historical things must not be changed from their original status.

“A Cambodian tourist, who was also visiting the Angkor Wat Temple, said that the plan of the Apsara Authority seems not to be the development or the conservation of the temple, but its destruction, adding that the Apsara Authority should have come to study the details and make decisions before implementing this plan of drilling.

“The same tourist continued to say that if the Apsara Authority had checked and studied the plan thoroughly, there would not have happened such destruction on our temple.

“The Apsara Authority always takes UNESCO as basic reference, but why didn’t they asks UNESCO first, before there such drilling to set up electric bulbs at the temple.

“On 23 May 2009, after there had been follow-up reactions from the general public, the working team of the Apsara Authority, led by the chairperson of the Apsara Authority Mr. Ngo Hongly, the director of the Apsara Authority, Mr. Bun Narith, and Ms. Mao La Or, led a big group of journalists to see the setting up of electric bulbs. The working team explained that they have a technique to set up electric bulbs which causes no harm to the temple. They install bulbs by using cork stoppers put into already existing holes, and they set up lights only where it is possibly, and also at the lower layers of the stone. The working team claims that the heat of the bulbs is weak and does not affect the temple.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4902, 24-25.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 25 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #193, 24-25.5.2009

  • Former South Korean President [Roh Moo-hyun] Jumps from a Mountain to Commit Suicide [after there was an investigation over a corruption scandal]; the Head of the Cambodian Government Shares Sad Condolences
  • A Cambodian Soldier Died and Two Others Are Seriously Wounded because They Stepped on an Old Mine at the Region Near the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Trees in the Bokor National Park Are Being Cut Illegally, but There Is No Action Taken Cracking Down [Kampot]
  • An Anti-Corruption Law Will Be Adopted in the Fourth Quarter of 2009 [claims the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking, and Audit, Mr. Cheam Yeap]
  • The State Prepares US$20 Million to Establish Support and a Development Foundation for Agriculture and Industry, while Workers Lose Their Jobs [so that they can ask for a loan with a very low interest rate to do farming]

Deum Tnot, Vol.2, #69, 25-26.5.2009

  • The Owner of the Naga Casino in Phnom Penh [Mr. Tan Sri Dato Chen Lip Keong] Was Nominated as an Advisor of the Government [based on the royal decree ns/rkt/0409/381 dated 3 April 2009]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #410, 24-26.5.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Expressed Dissatisfaction about the Statement of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights [condemning the Sam Rainsy Party for requesting its commune councilors to swear before the district/province/city council elections]
  • Hor Namhong Is Incompetent to Hunt Down Those Who Extort Money from Foreigners who Requests [an international] Marriage License

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6658, 25.5.2009

  • The UN Secretary-General Comes to Sri Lanka to Visit Tamil Refugee Camps

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3766, 25.5.2009

  • To Use Weapons Is Not Necessary for the Recently Elected District/Province/City Councilors [for it can cause anarchy regarding the hiding of illegal weapons – according to the opposition party and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC; in response to a statement by the Prime Minister, saying that they can carry weapons]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4902, 24-25.5.2009

  • Holes Are Drilled into the Angkor Wat Temple to Attach Electric Bulbs – Who Is Wrong? The Sou Ching Company, the Tuy Nasy Company, or the Apsara Authority?
  • More Than 300 Commune Councilors of the Sam Rainsy Party Will Be Dismissed [from the party for voting for the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • Cases of A/H1N1 Increase and the World Health Organization Announces that a Vaccine against this Flu Will Be Released next Month
  • Experts: Most Farmers Still Do Not Give Up Using Chemical Pesticides

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Law Enforcement – Sunday, 24.5.2009

Posted on 25 May 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 613 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 613

The Mirror has frequently focused on problems related to law and order – including, of course, the rights of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution, which the organs of law enforcement should protect and not curtail.

Very often problems in society do not happen because of a lack of legal clarity, but because existing laws are not enforced. Stability and happiness in a society depend, however, on predictability and general contentment, based on the notion that laws will be enforced to establish justice in peace.

In every society there are people who break the law – that is why all societies and states have developed rules how to deal with such violations of the rules. Most societies work with the concept that individuals do not have the right to break the rules or to use violence that harm others – but the state has a monopoly to enforce laws, and it is assumed that this happens regularly, as a matter of fact.

Why is it that in Cambodia, law enforcement often does not happen just simply based on an existing law, but an additional appeal or even a threat is necessary.

In 2007, traffic accidents killed 1,545 people in Cambodia. In 2008, 1,638 people lost their lives on the roads. During the first four months of 2009, already 579 people were killed on the roads. If this trend continues, the death toll by the end of the year may be more than 1,700.

There are many reasons that contribute to this tragedy, and many different measures to work against it.

A couple of years ago a rule was established that motorcycles have to have rear-view mirrors, and after a period of preparation – ? – a campaign was held for some weeks, educating drivers without such mirrors. In 2007, a new Land Traffic Law was adopted, that drivers of motorcycles have to wear helmets. The police was authorized to fine drivers in violation with Riel 3,000 [approx. US$0.75] for no helmet, and Riel 4,000 [approx. US$1.-] for no side mirrors.

But the chief of the traffic police in Phnom Penh was recently quoted as saying that fining those who do not respect the law does not seem to be very effective – a surprising statement, when one sees regularly groups of police standing at the roadside and not intervening when traffic is stagnant or congested.

Now we had a headline, saying: “Head of the Government Orders Not to Charge Money from Those Who Do Not Wear a Helmet, but to Confiscate Their Motorbikes – the Owners Cannot Take Their Motorbike Back Unless They Go with Their Newly-Bought Helmet.“ The Phnom Penh Post had more to report from the Prime Minister’s speech: “Police must keep the motorbikes, and when the owners have helmets and side mirrors, they can get their motorbikes back, and I will grant the owners one liter of petrol as an encouragement for them.”

Is change to come? This is difficult to predict, considering a report in the Phnom Penh Post:

“The general director of the General Transportation Department at the Transport Ministry, said that the ministry would re-examine existing traffic legislation to identify the articles that needed to be amended.

We think that it will take a long time to amend this law because we have to check all the articles that are being enforced before sending it to the National Assembly.”

Will change come from new, detailed legislation, or form a new approach to the enforcement of existing law? To reform road traffic, starting from a weak sector seems anyway to be an “easy way out” – one would have expected also a word about the many private luxury cars without any number plate at all, or the heavy ones with with military or police plates, driving high speed on the wrong side of the road, with headlights on, indicating that “Now get out of my way, don’t you see who is coming!”

But there is some hope.

The Prime Minister gave also also an ultimatum of two weeks to the many owners of cars with military or police number plates, who are actually using the license plates illegally for their private vehicles. Several hundred cars have been re-registered in the meantime. It can be assumed that most of the owners and drivers of these cars, mostly middle and high ranking officials, knew well that they were acting illegally until now.

These are the first steps on a long and arduous way towards a deep re-orientation of values. How complicated the related mental attitudes are, became obvious when a journalist, taking a picture of a banner announcing the advice of the Prime Minister – not to charge a monetary fine from those who do not wear a helmet, but to temporarily confiscate their motorbikes – was detained for some time, until he could convince those who had detained him, that the press law allows it that one takes a picture on a public road.

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The Cambodia Watchdog Council Strongly Criticizes the Prime Minister – Saturday, 23.5.2009

Posted on 25 May 2009. Filed under: Week 613 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 613

“The Cambodia Watchdog Council, based in Kristiansand in Norway, made a statement yesterday, on 22 May 2009, criticizing the frightful words of the Prime Minister, which affect different non-government organizations in Cambodia.

“The office of Khmer Machas Srok would like to publish the statement completely, based on the original statement without adding any comments:

Statement

Cambodia Watchdog Council International
CWC-International. # Havreveien 94, 4635 Kristiansand City, Norway

Tel: +4799489608 / +4799489347/
E-mail: cwci_secretariat@yahoo.com / cwci@start.no

Kristiansand, 22, May, 2009

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, warned on 21 May 2009 that he will sue, at the courts, any non-government organizations that dares to claim that they have been threatened by the Prime Minister, and he demanded all non-government organizations to work independently and neutrally.

“The Cambodia Watchdog Council noticed that there are really many non-government organizations in Cambodia, some organizations, associations, and unions are independent and neutral to serve the benefits for Khmer citizens, while a large number of organizations, associations, and unions, work to serve the politics for the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Hun Sen government. So far, organizations, associations, and unions that work independently are often disturbed by restrictions of their freedom by the authorities of the government, and they are also sometimes directly attacked by Mr. Hun Sen with unethical words that violate also the honor of Khmer women.

“Obviously, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, was jailed, the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, was sued by Mr. Hun Sen over his opinions expressed regarding border issues, and the scholar of economics, Dr. Sok Hach, and Dr. Lao Mong Hay, and some non-government organizations were cursed by Mr. Hun Sen. Separately, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Ms. Mu Sochua, was also insulted by Mr. Hun Sen.

“We saw that Mr. Hun Sen always attacks various opposition and non-government organizations that dare to make critical suggestions for improvements regarding his leadership of the government. He has never acknowledged the fact that he has not been able to rule the country by alleviating poverty of the Khmer citizens, by eliminating corruption, and by defending the country against invasions by neighboring countries, but in contrast, he hinders citizens to present any demands, even non-violent demonstrations and public gatherings are restricted.

“The Cambodia Watchdog Council would like to call on Mr. Hun Sen, as prime minister, to give up publishing threatening opinions, curses using all kinds of images, and the use of the court system as a tool to suppress leaders of organizations, associations, unions and various opposition groups, that follow the Constitution of Cambodia, which defines citizens’ rights, the freedom of expression, and the right of assembly. Also, the prime minister has to be a good model for the citizens, in morality, responsibility according to the law, daring to accept responsibility for his own activities.

“The Cambodia Watchdog Council would like to ask the international community and donors to observe the human rights situation in Cambodia, and to put pressure on the Cambodian government when it acts against democracy.

Cambodia Watchdog Council

Men Nath

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #409, 23.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 23 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #192, 23.5.2009

  • Samdech Euv [the King Father] Expresses His Appreciation for the Honesty of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [who said recently that three generations of his family will continue to support the monarchy forever: the prime minister, his father, and his children]
  • There Are Nearly 100 People per Day at the Top Floor of a House at the North of the Ou Russey Market to Engage in Rain Betting
  • Chinese CPC Company Negotiates with Cambodia to Purchase Oil [by bidding for oil blocks of Cambodia maritime regions]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1951, 23.5.2009

  • Two [Khmer-American] Persons Are Sought to Be Checked for A/H1N1 Flu [by the Ministry of Health – they were on a Korean plane with travelers infected with A/H1N1]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #409, 23.5.2009

  • The Cambodia Watchdog Council Strongly Criticizes the Prime Minister

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6657, 23-24.5.2009

  • A 10-Year-Old Girl Was Raped and Killed – It Became Known from the Odor of Her Decomposing Body [the perpetrator is not yet identified – Kompong Chhnang]
  • Mr. Obama Strongly Criticizes Guantanamo Prison

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3765, 23-24.5.2009

  • The UN Secretary-General Will Go to Burma to Suggest the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4901, 23.5.2009

  • [United States ambassador-at-large for war crime issues] Williamson: The Process against Corruption [at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Progresses
  • The Cambodian Center for Human Rights Condemns the Sam Rainsy Party for Requiring Its Party Members to Swear before [district/province/city] Council Elections
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Warns French Lawyer of Khiev Samphan [Mr. Jacques Vergès, for using unethical attitudes and words against judges, and for blocking the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal procedurally]
  • The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture – CEDAC – Calls On Khmer Farmers Not to Buy Paddy Rice Seeds from Foreign Countries [but to try to maintain the original seeds of the country – some imported seeds degenerate gradually which makes the paddy yield lower and lower]
  • A Taiwanese Man Is Arrested for Smuggling 240 kg Drugs [Phnom Penh]

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Cambodian Rice Encounters Problems Competing at International Markets because of Price Problems – Friday, 22.5.2009

Posted on 24 May 2009. Filed under: Week 613 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 613

“Phnom Penh: The president of the National Rice Millers Association of Cambodia said that the market for Cambodia rice is facing a crisis competing with neighboring countries, because the price of rice from other countries is cheaper than that from Cambodia.

“The president of the National Rice Millers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Tes Etda, said on 20 May 2009 that so far, the price of Cambodian rice is much higher than that of neighboring countries, especially of Vietnam.

“He said, ‘At international markets, the price of rice from Vietnam is much better than that from Cambodia.’

“Thus far, the price of normal quality rice that Vietnam sells is only US$390 per tonne, while Cambodian companies cannot sell their rice unless the price is over US$440. This high price is not because of its higher quality. The different prices for sale of both countries are due to internal affairs of each country.

“Mr. Etda went on to say that rice with the same quality, but with different prices, is a significant obstacle for Cambodia on international markets. But this is because the prices of local products are always high, and to be able to export, there are many legal steps to follow, a lot of kickbacks have to be paid, and moreover, our exporters seem not to agree with each other.

“He emphasized, ‘If we cannot first lower the price, exports from Cambodia will have market problems in the future.’

“The fact that the export of rice from Cambodia is facing a crisis like this has some negative consequences for farmers who have asked for loans from different micro-finance institutions to improve their farming, regarding the repayment of loans to those institutions, while the price of their agricultural products declines continually as the export encounters problems.

“An association in Prek Kunlong village, Kompong Tralach commune, Kompong Chhnang, told Radio Free Asia on 19 May 2009 that in the association, many villagers face demands from staff of six or seven micro-finance institutions and private banks, who urge them to sell their property in order to repay the loan that they had asked for from those institutions to invest in agriculture, when, unfortunately, now they cannot sell their agricultural products, or the prices of their products drop.

“They said that last year a bag of fertilizer of 50 kg was below Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30] and a kilogram of paddy rice was sold for Riel 1,200 [approx. US$0.30], but this year, the chemical fertilizer is cheaper, only Riel 1,000 per bag, but the price of paddy rice is 40 to 50 percent cheaper than last year.

“Regarding this problem, the president of Cambodian Microfinance Association, Mr. Huot Eng Tong, told Rasmei Kampuchea by telephone in the evening of Wednesday that what they claimed is not true.

“He recognized that recently, customers of different micro-finance institutions in Cambodia are late in repaying, but their percentage is very small, and those institutions do not order their staff to demand money from villagers as it is said above. Moreover, among more than one million costumers of micro-finance institutions, only 20% ask for loans to invest in agriculture.

“He emphasized, ‘Out of 100 costumers, we receive late repayments from one or two costumers only.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4900, 22.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #191, 22.5.2009

  • [Thailand’s army chief General] Anupong Paochinda [อนุพงษ์ เผ่าจินดา] Arrives at the Contested Area at the Preah Vihear Temple and Khmer Army Commanders Greet Him as Guest [to negotiate, to avoid armed clashes, and to develop the border region]
  • The Plan to Cut Down Fuel Supply at Ministries and Departments Is Being Implemented [according to an official of the Ministry of Information, for heads of departments and downwards, the fuel allowance for each official will be reduced by 10%, so that they will receive 20 to 30 liter only per month]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Confirms Supporting the Monarchy through the Generations of His Family [his father supported the monarchy, so does he, and he advised his children to do the same]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1950, 22.5.2009

  • The National Election Committee Dismissed Complaints of the Opposition Party against the Cambodian People’s Party for Buying Votes [for there is insufficient evidence]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Accused Some Non-Government Organizations to Be Biased towards the Opposition Party [he said that when the Cambodian People’s Party required its members to swear – though not a life-and-death oath – the party was criticized by non-organizations, but when the opposition party required its members to swear a life-and-death related oath, they did not criticise the opposition party]
  • Cambodia Supports the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader – according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • A Strike [conducted by nearly 2,000 workers] Occurs in the Morning at the Sangwoo Garment Factory and Workers Demand 22 Working Conditions to Be Implemented [by the factory owner – Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #408, 22.5.2009

  • Hun Sen Allows District/Province/City Councilors to Have Weapons [a short gun with two magazines of bullets for self defense]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6656, 22.5.2009

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Receives 352 Votes from [commune] Councilors of Other Parties [claims Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Iran Tests Its Missile Which Can Go 2,000 km

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4900, 22.5.2009

  • Cambodian Rice Encounters Problems Competing at International Markets because of Price Problems
  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Speed Up Border Negotiations when the Thai Prime Minister Arrives in Cambodia
  • An African Country [Guinea-Conakry] Agrees to Buy 2,000 Tonnes of Rice from Cambodia [worth US$700,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1723, 22-23.5.2009

  • The Military Situation at the Preah Vihear Temple Became Tense Again as the Number of Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Para Solders Increased at the Ou Chak Chraeng Region where an Armed Clash Almost Happened Recently
  • The Head of the UN Human Rights Forum Warned Representatives of the Yuon [Vietnamese] Government for Using Words Looking Down on Khmers in the Khmer Krom Region

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US Chevron Company Wants to Suspend Oil Exploration at the Khmer Sea Bottom because of the Global Economic Crisis – Thursday, 21.5.2009

Posted on 24 May 2009. Filed under: Week 613 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 613

“The global financial crisis affects the exploration of oil and other natural deposits at the Cambodian sea bottom, and this serious crisis causes the US biggest oil company to encounter difficulties for the exploration and exploitation of oil in Block “A” and to demand the Khmer government to sign a deal to postpone the exploration license at an area of the sea 150 km from the Sihanoukville port.

“Chevron’s Asia-Pacific media adviser based in Singapore, Mr. Gareth Johnstone, said that negotiations should be continued, even though the previous deal expired in April. He added that Chevron’s deal has not yet been concluded because of the economic crisis which is affecting the oil exploration in Block “A.” But he said that Chevron is discussing with the Khmer government to postpone the license deal for Block “A.”

“The chairperson of the National Assembly’s Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit, Cheam Yeap, said that the US oil exploration company Chevron is conducting exploration on six drilling sites in Block “A” within an area of 278 km2 located in the Gulf of Thailand in the Khmer sea territory. The economic crisis causes the oil exploration to be suspend for a short period only, and things will turn to be normal soon.

“The vice president of Chevron International Exploration and Production South Asia, Mr. Joe Geagea, told a newspaper in Bangkok that a license has not been given. But Cambodia and Chevron still maintain the hope that resources extracted from the Cambodian sea bottom will be brought to the market, though the oil price is low at present and the economy is declining.

“Mr. Joe Geagea said, ‘The problem is: What can be done in order to benefit us [Chevron] and Cambodia. Therefore, we want to continue negotiating with Cambodia.’

“Before, Chevron had said that the declining oil price is the reason that motivates US based Chevron to consider suspending drilling and oil exploration in Block “A” until the market of oil improves again. But so far, the oil market has not recovered so that Chevron could continue its activities at the Khmer sea. Another problem is that there is not yet a tax agreement with the Khmer government over the income from oil if the exploitation succeeds.

“It should be noted that regarding the signing of any agreements of private companies or of foreign investors, they have to pay the government millions of dollars for new licenses or to prolong expired licenses. Therefore, there have to be intensive negotiations to request new licenses.

“Mr. Gareth Johnstone said, ‘Because of commercial reasons and of the contract agreements, we cannot give any information about the discussions.’

“Cheam Yeap tries to conceal any problem which might block the process of the oil and natural gas exploration at the Khmer sea bottom. He said that he plans to ask the government to draft three laws relative to energy resources of the Kingdom of Cambodia, like the monitoring of oil, oil taxes, and the benefits of the energy sector, as an effort to better organize the use of national resources.

“Cheam Yeap added that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative based in London is invited to Cambodia to hold four workshops aiming to share experiences in organizing energy resources.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘We want Cambodia to be blessed by its oil resources and not to be cursed by its oil resources like Nigeria, Chad, Venezuela, Panama, and some African countries which were poor before, and after they found oil they are still poor after they gained some benefits from natural oil.’ Cambodia still hopes that oil can be extracted from its sea bottom starting between 2011 and 2013.

“Cheam Yeap boasted that besides Chevron of the United States, there are also companies from other countries that are interested in the natural oil treasures of Cambodia, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Indonesia, and other neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. Cheam Yeap admitted that there are some obstacles for the oil exploration at the Cambodian sea bottom, because the sea border has not been demarcated at disputed areas with Siam [Thailand].

“At present, Cambodia has already given licenses for 37,000 km2 of its sea territory, and the remaining area of 27,000 km2 is disputed with Siam [Thailand].

“It should be noted also that Chevron has already paid US$20 million to the Khmer government in exchange for the license for oil and natural gas exploration in Block “A,” the block with the most oil deposit. But this US$200,000 license [above, it said US$20 million] expired in April. Therefore, Chevron has to negotiate with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An as the president and Te Duong Dara as the secretary general, in order to continue to get an exploration license in Block “A.”

“On Wednesday, it was not known yet whether the Hun Sen government, notorious for corruption by receiving kickbacks, requires Chevron to pay additional tax so that it can continue its license to explore oil in Block “A.” But the government seemed to be not much interested with this and just demanded Chevron to negotiate again. The negotiations simply focused on paying money to request a new license, which made Chevron release some information, which surprised journalists in Bangkok.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3763, 21.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 21 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #190, 21.5.2009

  • Many Hotels in Siem Reap Are Closed Due the Declining Number of Tourists Resulting from the Economic Crisis
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Will Visit Cambodia on 12 and 13 June 2009
  • A Radio Free Asia Reporter [Mr. Uon Chhin] Was Detained by Officials of the Phnom Penh Department of Public Work and Transport [for taking a movie of the banner of the department, but then he was released after he claimed that it was not illegal to take it from outside the area of the department]
  • The National Assembly Promises to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law Soon [but does not mention a date]
  • Cambodia Needs US$45 Million to US$50 Million to Cut Down the Rate of AIDS Infection [from 0.8% in 2008] to 0.6% in 2010 [according to global health statistics, 93% of people infected with AIDS receive treatment, and 70% are orphaned children]
  • 97 Persons Died in a Plane Crash in Indonesia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1949, 21.5.2009

  • Three French Colonial-Era Border Markers [with inscriptions in French, Khmer, and Thai] Are Found Along the Border between Battambang and Pailin
  • There Have Been 3,537 Complaints Filed related to the Case of [former president of the National Assembly of the Khmer Rouge regime] Nuon Chea
  • Minister of Economy and Finance of Cambodia [Mr. Keat Chhon] Asks Environmental Expert Company of France [Veolia] to Invest Environmentally in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6655, 21.5.2009

  • Commemoration Anniversary of People Killed during the Pol Pot Regime on “20 May” – [many people have] Interest to Include It as a National Holiday
  • Australia Plans to Establish [world’s largest] Solar Electricity Plant [with 1,000 megawatt]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3763, 21.5.2009

  • US Chevron Company Wants to Suspend Oil Exploration at the Khmer Sea Bottom because of the Global Economic Crisis
  • [Former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief recently assigned as the director of the National Authority for Combating Drugs] Needs 500 Persons to Be Trained in the United States of America to Fight Drug Smuggling in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4899, 21.5.2009

  • The Government Is Waiting for the United Nations to Continue Discussing Mechanisms against Irregularities at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1722, 21.5.2009

  • Civil Society Continues to Demand an Anti-Corruption Law and that Officials Declare Their Property [according to a press conference of a civil society league with several civil society organizations as its members]

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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