Marching on First May 2009: Government Officials and Opposition Party Have Different Opinions – Monday, 4.5.2009

Posted on 5 May 2009. Filed under: Week 610, Week 611 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 611

“Phnom Penh: Teachers, workers, employees, and other people with different jobs, around 6,000, gathered in front of the former National Assembly on First May, the International Labor Day, to send a motion to the National Assembly requesting the government to pay attention to the difficult situation faced by weak citizens while the world is encountering an economic crisis. But the government considers this march as negatively affecting many economic sectors.

“The president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, stated, speaking to participants, ‘Some (referring to government leaders) said that the economic crisis is not a problem for jobless people in Cambodia, saying that jobless people can return home to do farming. What they said is wrong, and these words show irresponsibility, because workers know what the impact of the crisis is.’ He added, ‘The global economic crisis is affecting Cambodia and is making tens of thousands of workers unemployed, which means they lose their income completely, many factories close. The work of additional tens of thousands of workers is suspended, because their factories has suspended them and reduced their operations, which makes workers unemployed, losing large amounts of income, compared to the salaries in 2008.’ He asked the Royal Government to take proper measures, based on scientific economics, against the consequences from the global economic crisis. Those measures should include the preparation of a special budget of US$500 million in addiction to what had been prepared previously to support the Cambodian economy, in order to protect the work, income, and livelihood of workers and of citizens in general.

“Regarding this issue, the second vice-president of the National Assembly, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Royal Government has already taken measures against the global economic crisis.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Oum Mean, said that demonstrations by workers can make employers feel disappointed and at last, the ones who suffer from the difficulties are workers only. He added that instead of causing troubles for their employers and for the government, workers should celebrate the 123rd International Labor Day quietly and discuss the existing financial crisis.

“As for the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, he said that First May is the day that workers stand up to demand freedom and ask the government to pay attention to working conditions, and they want the government as well to know the conditions of workers during this time of an economic crisis. He added that now only weak Cambodian workers and weak citizens are victims of this economic crisis.

“Meanwhile, about 6,000 participants in the march, consisting of garments workers, food manufacturing workers, workers employed in the service and construction sectors, from the area of the informal economy, and from tourism, civil servants, and teachers, asked the government to create a [labor?] court soon, stop amending Articles 67 and 73 [of the Labor Law?], stop all types of discrimination against the exercise of freedom of trade unions and associations, take action by ordering all investers to deposit money at banks to be released to workers if factories close, provide an honorary name to Mr. Chea Vichea [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers who was shot dead in 2004] as ‘Worker Hero’ and provide a place to establish his statue, put pressure on employers to stop dismissing workers’ representatives or suspending their work illegally. Also, they asked the government to maintain an open job market and ensure good working conditions in all sectors. They suggested that the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training issue announcements about accident payments [money for workers in case they have a work related accident] and set rules for wages for the service sector and for construction workers, and they asked the government to increase the quantity and quality of irrigation systems and seek markets for farmers.

“In should be noted that First May 2009 is the 123rd celebration of the International Labor Day and it is an important event which was begun in the United States of America and it was the historic beginning for workers’ movements around the world.

“On First May 1886, tens of thousands of workers struck and demonstrated in Chicago in the United States of America to demand a reduction of working hours for workers to only eight hours per day. Workers clashed severely with their employers and with government forces, but at last, workers achieved a bright success.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #173-174, 1-2.5.2009


A brief history of the origin of the celebration of First May is here:

International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour day, killing a dozen demonstrators. In 1889, the first congress of the Second International, meeting in Paris for the centennial of the French Revolution and the Exposition Universelle, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. These were so successful that May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International’s second congress in 1891. The May Day Riots of 1894 and May Day Riots of 1919 occurred subsequently. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on “all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #173-174, 1-2.5.2009

  • Marching on First May 2009: Government Officials and Opposition Party Have Different Opinions
  • The Prime Minister Disclosed a Sharp Dispute between Institutions Levying Taxes [the Ministry of Economy, which has the duty to check taxes] and CamControl [of the Ministry of Commerce, which has the duty to check food quality – Prime Minister Hun Sen told the two institutions not to compete for work, which leads to disputes]
  • The Head of the Government Asked [the Council for the Development of Cambodia] for the Revocation of Licenses of Companies Which Are Not Active
  • The Prime Minister Speaks of the Weakness of Some of His Advisors
  • The United States of America Assists in Training Spokespersons, but Asks that All
    Major Institutions Should Have Spokespersons
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Ask for Emergency Assistance from Japan Against the A/H1N1 Virus [this name is World Health Organization identified, the virus developed from Swine Flu]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1932-1934, 1-4.5.2009

  • Thailand Sent Three Bodies of Khmers Back and Said that They Died from Lightning Strikes
  • Siam [Thailand] Sends Four More Bodies of Khmers [and seven injurered people] and Said that They Died from Traffic Accidents
  • The Policy of the S-21: Nobody Could Release [prisoner] Victims, not even [Khmer Rouge top leader] Pol Pot [claimed former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Kek Eav alias Duch]
  • Election Campaign for District/Provincial/City Council Elections Has Started [from 1 May to 15 May 2009]
  • Minister of Defense: This Year Dengue Fever Condition Is Worrying [there have been 871 cases with two deaths by April 2009]
  • Vietnamese Fishing Boats Invade Khmer Sea Territory Continually
  • Swine Flu Has Spread to Hong Kong and South Korea

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #394, 3-5.5.2009

  • To Invite Samdech Euv [former King] to Appear as a Witness for the Trials of Former Khmer Rouge Leader Is Against the Constitution [according to a letter of Samdech Euv from Beijing]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6639, 2-3.5.2009

  • Japan Grants More than US$4 Million to Cover Expenses for the Cambodian Side in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3746-3747, 1-2.5.2009

  • Global Witness Criticizes that the Figures Presented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Are Dubious [the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries said that it planted four million trees between 2004 and 2008, while the FAO found that Cambodia lost 29% of the remaining forest between 2000 and 2005]
  • [Minister of Defense] Tea Banh Denied [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin Used His Own Plane to travel to Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4882-4884, 1-4.5.2009

  • Lightning Killed Eight People and Injured Three in Kampot, Kompong Speu, and Takeo [on 1 May 2009]
  • Regarding Samdech Hun Sen’s and Ms. Mu Sochua’s Lawsuits: Both Plaintiffs Will Be Summoned to the Court on 7 May 2009
  • Japanese Minister of Interior Grants 20 Firefighter Cars to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen

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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Apologies – correction:

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1932-1934, 1-4.5.2009

Not the Minister of Defense, but the Minister of Health spoke on Dengue Fever…

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