Archive for August, 2009

Samdech Chea Sim Asks for Understanding during the Traffic Law Implementation – Monday, 31.8.2009

Posted on 31 August 2009. Filed under: Week 628 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 628

“The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and also the head of a Phnom Penh municipal coalition working team, Samdech Akak Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim, reminded commune, district, and municipal governors and councilors to ensure more trust towards citizens who are voters, and to understand them while implementing the traffic law.

“Samdech Akak Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim said so when he presided over a ceremony in the morning of 29 August 2009 at the headquarters of the Cambodian People’s Party, to announce the names of leaders of the coalition working team to assist districts, and to introduce a plan of instructions to strengthen village leaders in Phnom Penh. On that occasion, Samdech Chea Sim said, ‘Our Cambodian People’s Party has a long-term strategic goal – it is to rule the country hundreds of years more. But whether this is possible or not depends on the citizens and on us, the leaders, and if all citizens lose faith in us, it will be difficult to attract their votes.’ He went on to say that in October, the election registrations will start. However, he saw recently that there had been demonstrations to demand a reduction of some taxes at some provinces, but there were no such cases yet in Phnom Penh, and he hoped that there will be proper solutions.

“Another thing is related to the Boeng Kak issue in Phnom Penh. Samdech Chea Sim has agreed with the development of Phnom Penh, but what is important is that proper solutions are offered to the residents, otherwise it will affect members of our party, accusing them of disregarding the difficulties of the citizens. Sometimes, the poor people have little money to afford to buy a motorbike to work as moto-taxi drivers, and sometimes, even our civil servants encounter difficulties and take their free time to work as moto-taxi drivers, to find additional income to support their family’s living. They face another difficulty when their motorbikes are confiscated to pay taxes.

“Samdech Chea Sim said that he understands the need to implement the traffic law, but also, there has to be a practical understanding for our people and for our fellow civil servants who face difficulties in their livelihood.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2036, 30-31.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 31 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #4, 30-31.8.2009

  • Forty Two AIDS Families at the Tuol Sambou Village Encountering Shortage of Clean Water and of Life Extending Medicines
  • Six Forestry Officers Were Convicted over Logging [they were accused by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for taking bribes to allow logging in forests in Preah Vihear, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia Takes More Actions to Prevent A/H1N1 during the Cool Season [so far, there have been 26 confirmed cases of A/H1N1]
  • A Korean-Made Truck Drove Over Two People and Killed Them in Meanchey District [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2036, 30-31.8.2009

  • Politicians and Civil Society [the president of Funcinpec, Mr. Keo Puthreasmey, the executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections, Mr. Hang Puthea, an investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, Mr. Ny Chakriya] Support Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Policy to Withdraw Troops [from the Khmer-Thai border]
  • Sixty Nine Workers Fainted because of Inhaling a Poisonous Chemical Substance at a Factory [Maurea Garments Court in Phnom Penh]
  • Pigs Injected with Sleep Inducing Drugs [not to make any noise – using Diazepam: “It is used for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety”] and Imported Illegally from Thailand Were Intercepted – Veterinary Medical Officials Said the Health of People Eating Their Meat Can Be Affected [Poipet]
  • Samdech Chea Sim Asks for Understanding during the Traffic Law Implementation

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #643, 31.8.2009

  • The King and the Cambodian Royal Family Do Humanitarian Activities to Help Poor and Hungry People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6742, 31.8.2009

  • Two People Died, and Six People Were Injured by Lightnings; Two Cows Were Killed, and One Person Drowned [Kompong Thom and Pursat]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4986, 31.8.2009

  • The World Bank and the Government Find Ways [to address challenging problems of Cambodia] to Strengthen Good Governance
  • An Average Family in Khmer Society Becomes Smaller; Families in Rural Areas Still Prefer Having Many Children; the Population of Cambodia Will Rise [from about 14 million at present] to 18 Million in 2025
  • Officials Said that there is no more a Scarcity of Electricity in Phnom Penh [after the government has connected to an electricity net from Vietnam, buying electricity]
  • Siamese [Thai] Police: Cambodian Beggars in Pattaya Province Are Cheated and Forced to Beg for Money for Siamese [Thai] People

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3497, 30.8.2009

  • Both the Authorities and Expert Officials Stay Quiet over the Illegal 10-Floor Building [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1783, 31.8.2009

  • The Government Cancels Plan to Sue [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Mony [for providing a supposedly false testimony, claiming that the government was behind the murder of his older brother, Chea Vichea], Surprising Civil Society

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Reviews and Revisions – Some Almost too Late – Sunday, 30.8.2009

Posted on 31 August 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

Whenever there are large scale development actions planned, there are almost always also some people affected negatively, everywhere in the world.

The following report about how a Ratanakiri deputy governor publicly speaks of the need to carefully weigh positive goals and unavoidable negative results, is an example that is worth of being taken care of widely in the country: “Development cannot avoid certain impacts that we try to steer clear of.” – “First we need to assess the impacts on the society, the economy, and the environment, especially to organize plans with the participations from all relevant institutions and from the communities, before any projects are finally decided.”

It is to be seen how this basic attitude will be applied in dealing with the may open questions which have been raised in relation to the Sesan Krom II Hydro-Electric Dam. As we also mirrored during the week, the Sesan V Hydro-Electric Development Project has already been canceled. The reasons are not completely clear in detail – it is reported that the plan was given up “as it would not provide economic benefits.” Economic benefits for whom? For the regional society? For the economy of the whole country? Or for the economy of the implementing company? And what about the overall economic results for the affected communities?

Surely it is extremely difficult to present an overall financial evaluation for the economic results of such plans, when the situation of the local people, and of the macro-economic benefits for the whole country are at stake.

This may lead to overly simple decisions, using the data which can more easily be estimated and calculated: the cost of the construction, and the estimated income from the sale of the electricity. The price of giving up the living environments of villagers, and the monetary value of loosing their ancestral sites is different. It cannot be calculated.

Was a similarly careful consideration made before starting to destroy the Boeng Kak lake by filling most of it up with sand from the Mekong river-bed, and displacing thousands of inhabitants? Was the plan for destroying the lake made, as the Ratanakiri deputy governor suggests, “with the participation from all relevant institutions and from the communities, before any projects were finally decided?” It seems that things went quite differently in Phnom Penh, before a company got the contract without public bidding, without a broad consultation among the wider Phnom Penh population affected – not only the families who used to live around the lake are affected – and without public evaluation of the price paid by a private company for a lot of public property.

Now flooding starts again in parts of Phnom Penh. Many months ago, it had been reported that the city started to build – with public funds – extensions for the management of excess water which cannot find temporary storage in the lake, as it was usual formerly, before the Boeng Kak lake was filled in.

=

When families were made to move to make room for big constructions plans, it was always claimed that the relocation sites offered, had all the basic necessary amenities. That was also the case when the remaining people from the Dey Krahom region were forced out on behalf of the 7NG company. – Now we had the following headline: “The Shukaku Company Donates US$10,000 through the 7NG Company to Create a Clean Water System for 185 relocated families in Damnak Trayueng village, Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district, Phnom Penh.” Now, the Shukaku company – involved in filling up the Boeng Kak lake, donated a clean water system – which was obviously still missing – through the 7NG company, and last week the Phnom Penh municipality negotiated on behalf of the Shukaku company with the last remaining families to leave the Villages 2 and 4 at the lake. How are the interests of these three entities, private and public, related to each other?

On Thursday, The Cambodia Daily had a detailed report about the situation in Damnak Trayueng, where also 335 families relocated who had been “renters” at Dey Krahom and therefore did not get compensation offered. The report describes rampant sicknesses among children and adult in the partly flooded area, where children can no longer go to school since relocation, and the adults find it difficult, 15 km away from town, to find jobs.

A revision of this situation is not yet in sight.

=

Should the following cases me mirrored as “revisions” of past decisions? This is not really appropriate, because the relevant institutions and persons in the bureaucratic administration of the court and prison system failed to take the necessary decisions. Quite simply: the case files of arrested suspects were not only misplaced – nobody seemed to care that the papers were misplaced and two people were kept in jail against the law:

  • “A Man Had Been Detained for Four Years without Being Presented to a Judge, because His Case File Had Been Lost [he was arrested for stealing a mobile phone worth US$15 in 2005 – Kandal]”
  • “A Woman Had Been Temporarily Detained for Around Three Years without Any Hearing Yet, and It Is Suspected that Her Case File Had Been Lost”

We have not found any reports – neither that the persons who were held illegally, will get a monetary compensation for the injustice suffered, nor that the culprits in the bureaucracy will be punished. But this scandal is at least receiving attention higher up: “The Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang VongVathana, Reminded Judges and Prosecutors Not to Lose Case Files Again.”

And there are more cases – about which the Mirror had reported in the past – where court decisions are called up for reconsideration, without going into Appeals Court procedures:

  • “The King Asks the Minister of Justice to Check the Decision of the Municipal Court on Mr. Hang Chakra” [the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, who was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for defamation and disinformation against government officials]
  • “The Dispute about the Renakse Hotel in front the Royal Palace Reached the King” [after there had been a request for his intervention, but the King referred this case to Prime Minister Hun Sen to make a decision]

And finally, there is the case of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, jailed for the murder of the labor leader Chea Vichea in January 2004. The Court of Appeals confirmed their sentences of 20 years in prisonment in 2007. In December 2008, the Supreme Court released them on bail, In August 2009, the Court of Appeal ordered a review of the case against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen, and bail for them was extended.

=

At the time of this writing, the exit poll reports from the elections in Japan are coming in. On Saturday, we had mirrored voices from Cambodia, considering: “Will Cambodian-Japanese Ties Change if Japan Has a New Prime Minister?” The Japanese voters cast their votes, first of all, for internal concerns, responding to the intentions of the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan to fundamentally review and revise the 50 years of government by the Liberal Democratic Party, which until now held 303 of the 480 seats in the outgoing parliament, while the Democratic Party of Japan had only 112. Now the Japanese media estimate that, based on exit poll analysis, the situation will be reversed: the Democratic Party of Japan will probably get 300 or more seats. And that will mean a reorientation from a policy of supporting the bigger corporations to a focus on consumers and workers, strengthening the public welfare system, and reforming the power structure of the bureaucracy.

Whether this will lead also to a revision of the Cambodia related policy of Japan or not, as discussed on Saturday, only the future will show. But it is sure that Cambodian politics will carefully observe why such a fundamental change in the public opinion happened in Japan. The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party said, in his own words, that the election brought a “revolution,” as the people were “fed up” with the governing party.

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Will Cambodian-Japanese Ties Change if Japan Has a New Prime Minister? – Saturday, 29.8.2009

Posted on 30 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“Two different views have been expressed by official of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the opposition party about the relations, both in diplomatic and in other terms, between Cambodia and Japan, if a new Japanese prime minister from the opposition party would take power after the general elections in Japan on 30 August 2009.

“An official of the Royal Government said that Cambodian and Japanese ties will not change and will become even better, whichever candidates from the ruling party or from the opposition becomes the new prime minister of Japan. An official of the opposition party of Cambodia, on the other side, thinks that the Cambodian-Japanese relations might change, if the president of the opposition party becomes the new prime minister, and he might restrict aid to Cambodia.

“On 30 August 2009, Japan will hold general elections, with two main candidates competing to become prime minister: first, the current prime minister, Mr. Aso Taro – 麻生太郎, Asō Tarō – and second, the president of the Japanese opposition Democratic Party, Mr. Hatoyama Yukio – 鳩山由紀夫. An opinion poll in Japan shows that an [opposition] majority seems to be able to take the position of the present prime minister, who will fall into the position of the president of the opposition party. Currently, Mr. Hatoyama is president of the opposition party, but the majority of Japanese people have lost faith in Prime Minister Aso Taro, who made the Japanese economy drop dramatically.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, told Deum Ampil by telephone on Friday, ‘I think that the Cambodian-Japanese ties will not change, regardless of which candidate will take power, and the relations of both countries’ will become better, both as far as aid is concerned, and also in relation to other sectors.’

“When asked why the relations might become better if a new prime minister would be elected in Japan, Mr. Koy Kuong said, ‘What is good will not change. Whichever candidate will make the relations to move ahead, because the whole world is cooperating towards globalization, and a party that takes power will surely always walk along this same track.’

“The spokesperson of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, expressed a contrasting opinion to the above view, saying, ‘Normally, if a country changes to a new prime minister, foreign politics will also change, because they are smart, and if the opposition party wins the elections, I believe that the aid requested to be provided to Cambodia will be severely restricted.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann added that Japan’s new government will not let the Royal Government of Cambodia do whatever it wants to do freely, relating to both corruption and to violations against democracy. They will not just stay calm and will carefully make their decisions before granting aid to Cambodia.

“According to information from Japan, Mr. Hatoyama, a co-founder and president of the opposition party, who expects to become the new Japanese prime minister, said that the government will focus on the requirements for the integration of economy and of politics with the East Asian countries, especially with the Beijing government, and also, he warned that Japan will likely also criticize America, a country which has been supporting Japan.

“According to a survey in Japan, if this opposition party president wins the elections, the whole Japanese government will turn to cooperate with Asian countries, especially with ASEAN countries, continuing to provide aid to those countries.

“It should be noted that so far, most of the aid that Cambodia has received [from one country] is from the Japanese government that is leading in helping to speed up the economy and to eradicate poverty in Cambodia, following the core policies of the Cambodian government.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #275, 29.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #275, 29.8.2009

  • Will Cambodian-Japanese Ties Change if Japan Has a New Prime Minister?
  • Will a New Japanese Prime Minister from the Opposition Party Change the Politics and the Economy in Cambodia?
  • Oddar Meanchey Authorities Ban Citizens from Going to Cut Trees [in the border area]; Siamese [Thai] Ubon Rachathani Provincial Court Delayed the Hearing of 16 Khmer Citizens to 23 September 2009 [they were accused of entering Thai territory illegally to cut down trees]
  • Cambodian and German Musicians Will Play Together in a Concert of Cultural Exchange [at the Cambodian Japanese Cooperation Center of the Royal University of Phnom Penh on 4 September 2009 at 19:00, the Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra is visiting]
  • A Swiss Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Cambodian [male] Children [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2035, 29.8.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Welcomed Trucks with Troops [in Siem Reap] Returning from the Border
  • Armed Robbers Robbed Five Gold Stalls at the Prek Leap Market, Taking Away 530 Chi Gold [worth approx. US$606,850 – Phnom Penh]
  • China Is Angry with the [the permission given to the] Dalai Lama to Visit Taiwan

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #479, 29.8.2009

  • Ms. Mu Sochua and Khmer Civil Society Officials Will Attend a Special Meeting at the US Parliament about Human Rights Violations and the Restriction of the Freedom of the Press in Cambodia [on 10 September 2009]
  • [A vice-president of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Mr. Pen Sovann Said [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander] Pol Sarouen Used to Be His Right-Hand Person to Prevent Yuon [Vietnam] from Invading Khmer Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6741, 29-30.8.2009

  • A Handful of Siamese [Thai] Extremist People Requested in Front of the Government House [in Bangkok] Not to Withdraw [Thai] Troops from the Region at the Cambodian Preah Vihear Temple

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4985, 29.8.2009

  • Government Officials [led by Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith] and Monks Will Go to Celebrate the Pchum Ben Days [18 to 21 September 2009] in Khmer Kampuchea Krom [now part of southern Vietnam]
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Grants Euro 12 Million [approx. US$17 million] to Alleviate the Consequences of Drought [in parts of Cambodia]
  • The Minister of Justice [Mr. Ang VongVathana] Reminded Judges and Prosecutors Not to Lose Case Files Again [there were recently two cases where people were in jail for several years without having been presented to a judge]
  • [Two] Trucks Crashed into Each Other, Immediately Killing Four People [Kandal]
  • Phnom Penh Governor [Kep Chuktema]: The Bodies of Dead Poor People Will Be Cremated Free of Charge at the New [Electric] Crematorium [Phnom Penh]

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Cambodia Can Earn Millions of Dollars from the Carbon Market – Friday, 28.8.2009

Posted on 29 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“With the remaining forest cover in the country and with activities to conserve the environment, Cambodia is thought to be able to earn millions of dollars by selling carbon credits in the volunteer carbon market if Cambodia has experts.

“In Cambodia so far, there are not many people who know how to earn money to be used for development and humanity activities legally from the volunteer carbon market by selling carbon credits, while at present Cambodia is a country that has already ratified the Tokyo environment protocol, and it is considered to be a country that has potential.

“The volunteer carbon market is a free trade market, created after many countries had signed and ratified the Tokyo protocol. It is a market formed by between volunteer buyers, mostly big companies in industrialized countries that emit much carbon dioxide, and sellers, mostly organizations or communities in developing countries that are active to conserve the forest and to prevent the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At the volunteer carbon market, both sides can settle their accounts through carbon credits, corresponding to the quantity of carbon dioxide that is reduced to be emitted into the atmosphere by any activities with this effect. For example, using a stove consuming firewood can release 1.5 kg carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but a community had came up with a creative idea to create a new type of stove which can work as well as the previous one, but emits only 1 kg carbon dioxide. Thus, the remaining 0.5 kg of carbon dioxide is the carbon credit that can be kept to exchange for money.

“In the world nowadays, a tonne of carbon dioxide can be exchanged for up to Euro 30 (roughly US$ 42.80).

“The head of the Climate Change and Renewable Energy Unit GERES Cambodia, Mr. Minh Le Quan, said recently that by now, there have been about tree projects only in Cambodia that receive credits from the volunteer carbon market, and one of them is the project of GERES Cambodia. He does not know how much dollars those projects can make by exchanging carbon credits, but he just said that in general, it is kept confidential, because in the volunteer carbon market, there are also competitions like in other commercial markets. He merely said that Cambodia is a potential country.

“He added, ‘The settling of carbon credit accounts is like food buying, where sellers have to compete with each other. It is a trading market, and the prices depend on quality and negotiations.’

“According to Mr. Le Quan’s estimation, so far, prices in the settling of accounts of carbon credits per tonne of carbon dioxide that Cambodia receives are from US$4.- to Euro 20 [approx. US$28.50], and most of the clients of Cambodia are from Europe and Australia. Also, there is a small number of clients in the country. The reason that Cambodia cannot receive high prices like other countries is that Cambodia has not had much of its own ability developed to reach the volunteer carbon market; Cambodia sells its carbon credits through brokers.

“Mr. Le Quan went to on say, ‘I do not know about other projects, but a project of GERES Cambodia could help, from 2003 to 2007, to reduce 314,854 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and it could help about 1.2 million citizens.’

“At present, the volunteer carbon market is operating in some countries such as Australia, the European Union, New Zealand, and the USA. According to an estimation of the World Bank in 2007, the whole quantity of carbon dioxide worldwide is worth as much as US$64 billion, while only 123 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be sold in 2008, earning just US$705 million.

“Besides the three projects mentioned above by Mr. Le Quan, another project is being prepared by the Forestry administration and PACT Cambodia.

“The deputy head of the Forestry Community Department of the Forestry Administration, Mr. Long Ratanakomar, said via telephone last week, ‘Cooperating with PACT Cambodia and with nine forest protection communities in Oddar Meanchey, we had reached an agreement with a company based in the United States to conserve a forest region of about 60,000 hectares; it is an effort to prevent the emission of carbon dioxide, about 8.5 million tonnes within 30 years.’

“However, Mr. Ratanakomar does not yet know how much the agreement will cost, saying that it needs further clarifications and interpreted legal procedures.

“Regarding the trading of carbon credits in the volunteer carbon market, Mr. Le Quan said that it is not easy, and not each individual can engage in activities to protect the environment, and then ask to exchange carbon credits. Money from carbon credits cannot be transferred into the pockets of an individuals. All money will be kept collective to be used continually for training, for the construction of infrastructure and of schools, and for the creation of jobs.

“He stated, ‘A person can join to protect the environment by, for example, not using vehicles, but they cannot exchange those activities for cash. The exchange for cash needs to be negotiated and to go through many complex legal procedures.’

“Thus far, the projects that have been receiving credits from the carbon credit trading in the volunteer carbon market are a project to create a type of special stove by GERES Cambodia [see embedded Video after the headlines – there may be some seconds time delay], a project of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), and another project of the national-level bio-energy program of Cambodia. It is expected that in the near future, forest communities in Oddar Meanchey will receive one more project.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4984, 28.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 28 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #274, 28.8.2009

  • The Body of a Second Khmer Man Gunned Down by Siam [Thailand] Was Found [at the Dangrek Mountain] Ahead of a Hearing on Khmer [illegal] Loggers in Ubon Rachathani Province [of Thailand]
  • The Deadline for Citizens of Village 2 and Village 4 at the Boeng Kak Region Ended [on 27 August 2009; according to the deputy governor of Daun Penh district, Mr. Sok Penhvuth, all families had agreed to move out and only one family chose the in-place development option]
  • An Electric Crematorium Is Prepared to Be Opened for the Public [at the Russey Sanh pagoda in Prey Sar commune, Dangkao, Phnom Penh]
  • Taiwan Allows a Visit of Samdech Sang Dalai Lama [to commemorate the people who died and to bless those surviving from a recent typhoon]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2034, 28.8.2009

  • Moto-Taxi Drivers in Banteay Meanchey Protested for the Second Time to Ask for an [import] Tax Reduction
  • Cart Pullers at the Poipet Border Crossing Complain They Have No Money to Buy Rice [because there are less goods to be pulled to earn money]
  • One Statue with Four Naga Heads [designed in the late 1950s by the Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann] Was Removed at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout by Officials Using a Crane [to make way for the construction of an overpass to relieve the traffic jam], Damaging Two of Them and Their Tail [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #478, 28.8.2009

  • The International Labor Organization of the United Nations Said that the Economic Crisis Makes an Additional 200,000 Khmer People to Fall into Poverty

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6740, 28.8.2009

  • A Safety System Is Organized for Gold Sellers and Currency Exchangers [the Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naroth, asked them to install an alerting signal system, and to use hard-to-break glass [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4984, 28.8.2009

  • Cambodia Can Earn Millions of Dollars from Carbon Market
  • America: The Reduction of Troops at Preah Vihear by Cambodia Is a Positive Point for the Cambodian-Thai Dispute
  • Officials [of the Ministry of Economy and Finance]: The World Bank Will Focus on Helping in Agriculture
  • Insurance Companies Joined to Create an Insurance System for Border Crossing Vehicles
  • The Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction Indroduces a Sub-Decree about the Management and Usage of Ownership in Condominium Buildings [it defines how to register the rights of private ownership in condominium buildings for all condominium owners: to document the locations, sizes, and percentage of privately owned condominiums, in
    proportion to the whole size of the whole condominium building, and the type of property]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1782, 28-30.8.2009

  • [The advisor of the prime minister] Om Yentieng and [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Family Appear in the Global Witness’s Report Again, Related to Mine Exploitation at Prohibited Forest Regions
  • The New Building of the Council of Minister Is Being Threatened by a Superstition [it is believed by some that the new building may affect the Prime Minister’s fortune]

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Bank Official: The Global Economic Crisis Does Not Affect Banks in Cambodia – Thursday, 27.8.2009

Posted on 28 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“Phnom Penh: The director of the National Bank of Cambodia said that even though the financial crisis is affecting many countries in the world, Cambodia does not suffer from it seriously.

“In the morning of 26 August 2009, the Club of Cambodian Journalists held a roundtable meeting about banking management and the trust of the public, with the participation of many journalists and representatives of the National Bank of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“Ms. Tal Nay Im, the director general of the National Bank of Cambodia, who represented the governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Chanto, to preside over the meeting, said, ‘In this time of a global financial crisis, we must point out the progress of the banking systems in Cambodia within the last two years.’ She went on to say that the banking system in Cambodia operates at present with the National Bank of Cambodia as the central bank of the country, 27 commercial banks, 2 representation offices of foreign banks, 6 expert banks, and 25 micro-finance institutions under the control and monitoring of the National Bank of Cambodia.

“Ms. Tal Nay Im added that during the last two years, he number of commercial banks operating in Cambodia has increased. Most of them are foreign banks that come to invest in the banking sector in Cambodia. The increase in the interest looking for benefits by foreign banks at the Cambodia market is considered, by Cambodian people, as a positive point, because Cambodia has political stability and a market, seen by foreign investors as having potential for strong progress under the legal framework of Cambodia, though there is no neutrality yet, but there is a favorable environment to attract investment in a free trade atmosphere, which does not limit the in-and-out flow of capital or currency exchange operations. She continued to say that also the fact that there is a high level of dollarization in the Cambodian economy helps to ease the control of active and inactive property of a majority of the banks that operates with dollars. Even though Cambodia is a small country in the region, it has potential for development and investment for profit almost in every economic sector which can be considered as having an interesting outlook for foreign investors.

“Ms. Tal Nay Im went on to say that in Cambodia in 2009, the number of people who deposit money at commercial banks is 820,284, corresponding to 6% of the country’s populations, excluding the deposits at the micro-finance system. Also, Cambodia had reserved currency resources at the National Bank of US$100 million in 1998, but now US$2,300 million in 2008.

“The Country Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany, Ms. Rabea Brauer, said that provided that Cambodia does not suffer from the impact of the financial crisis as seriously as the United States, according to a study conducted previously, the financial crisis has an impact to a smaller extent, especially on women and children, and this impact will continue.

“She added that journalists should focus on topics about the impact of the global financial crisis on women and children.”Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2033, 27.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 27 August 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1409, 27.8.2009

  • The King Asks the Minister of Justice to Check the Decision of the Municipal Court on Mr. Hang Chakra [the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, who was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for defamation and disinformation against government officials]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #273, 27.8.2009

  • Phnom Penh Authorities Will Use Strict Measures on Teens under the Age of Sixteen Who Go to Clubs, Guesthouses, and Hotels after 8:00 p.m.
  • Fishermen Suffer from the Global Economic Crisis, though Cambodia Is the Fourth Country Rich in Fresh Water Fish [after China, India, and Bangladesh; the consumption of food through income from fishery dropped dramatically as prices of food, materials, petroleum, and rice rise – according to the FAO and the Cambodia Development Resource Institute]
  • The Asian Development Bank[ADB] and South Korea Support the Construction of Roads in the Border Areas [in order to speed up the alleviation of poverty, to increase opportunities to create economic zones, and to boost efforts in commerce and in tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion; the ADB loans US$16.3 million to construct a national road of 113 km in the northwest of Cambodia to increase border crossings with Thailand, and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of South Korea loans US$26 million to build a road crossing Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey to connect them from the west to the east along the Thai border]
  • The Number of Beer Selling Women Increases after Some Garment Factories Had Closed [according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affair, Ms. Hor Malin]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2033, 27.8.2009

  • Bank Official: The Global Economic Crisis Does Not Affect Banks in Cambodia
  • [The Minister of Environment] Mr. Mok Mareth Said that Some Natural Conservation Regions Are Being Destroyed by Opportunists [these are not named – but he appeals to local officials, the courts, prosectures, the armed forces, the military police, and other national and internationa organizations to help to support the activities potecting and conserving the environment]
  • Tuol Kork Authorities Gathered 22 Prostitutes and Sent Them to a Social Center [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #477, 27.8.2009

  • The Dispute about the Renakse Hotel [in front the Royal Palace] Reached the King [after there had been a request for his intervention, but the King referred this case to Prime Minister Hun Sen to make a decision – Phnom Penh]
  • Sand Dredging Reoccurred Strongly while the Head of the Government Is Quiet [at Khsach Kandal district, along the Mekong River in Kandal, and in a community along the Bassac River]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6739, 27.8.2009

  • A Conflict for Interest at the Chong Kneas Motor Boat Port [between the Sou Ching residents’ supporting association and the motor boat tourism association] Affects Tourism [tourists could not board the boats to visit the Tonle Sap lake – Siem Reap]
  • Measures to Crack Down on Teen Gangs: [Phnom Penh governor] Kep Chuktema: Some Children of Powerful and Rich People Are in Teen Gangs – and if They Are Not Brought under Control, Then Who Should Be?

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4983, 27.8.2009

  • More Than 13 Million Cambodian People [corresponding to 94%] Have Not Used Bank Accounts [because they have not trusted the bank system in Cambodia; only more than 820,000 have created bank accounts]
  • Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the Thai “Burapa” Border Protektion Unit] Cleared a Road by Machinery to Construct a Wooden Bridge to the Chub Angkunh Border Crossing, Leading to the Ta Krabei Temple, but Cambodian Solders Stopped Them; Many [Cambodian] Tanks Have Been Withdrawn from the Frontline
  • The United Nations Has Selected a Candidate to Replace Mr. Robert Petit [a former international co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal; but the identity of the new person as not yet been revealed]
  • The Person that the Municipal Court Had Jailed Nearly Four Years ago without a Hearing [because of losing his case file] Was Released [Kandal – he gets no compensation payment; it has also been asked in the press who is responsible for any payment to the suspect. No information whether anyone will be punished for jailing him without legal justification]

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The Economic Crisis Has Impacts on Education and on Child Labor in Cambodia – Wednesday, 26.8.2009

Posted on 27 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“Phnom Penh: Officials said that the economic crisis can block the development of Cambodia, especially it affects the alleviation of child labor and increases obstacles for children to receive education.

“The deputy secretary-general of the Supreme National Economic Council, Mr. Ruos Selva, said during a national consultative workshop on the impact of the global economic crisis on education and child labor in Cambodia on 25 August 2009, that the global economic crisis made the country’s economic growth rate decline to 6.7% in 2008 and to 2.1% in 2009, posing many challenging problems for Cambodia.

“Mr. Ruos Selva added that the economic downturn increases the number of poor people and makes the Millennium Development Goals for Cambodia to get side-tracked – being replaced by people who lost their jobs, which means also having lost other income for the family, which results in a shortage of finance for health, for education, and for social wellfare programs.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr. Chey Chab, recognized the decline in the national income and in economic activities; while the goal for the progress of the country remains unchanged, the efforts to reduce child labor, and to remove obstacles for children to receive education, continue.

“In Cambodia, poverty is still a major problem, keeping students out of school. According to education experts, Khmer parents hold the opinion that their children can go to school only if they do not have financial problems. But there are financial problems, many poor families face the situation that the breadwinners do not have jobs or have only insufficient jobs. Because the income is not stable, families have to struggle to feed their children, making the expenses for traveling to school, for school clothes, and for other materials, to be their last priority.

“If the extent of the impact of the economic crisis is not adrressed and reduced, many children will have to leave the education system. Moreover, it will also reduce the quality of the teaching in classroom to become poorer.

“The head of the technical advisors of the international program of the International Labor Organization, Mr. M. P. Joseph, said that regarding the present economic crisis in Cambodian, the encouragement to send children to school, and to keep children to continue learning, is still very strong in this country. Maybe it is because in this modern era, it is thought that children without education are a liability.

“Also, the global economic crisis affects child labor in Cambodia. According to child labor experts, child labor has increased both in cities and rural areas. In populated areas, many children have to beg, some work as scavengers, and some work as house servants, even though they are under the age to do such jobs. In rural areas, agricultural labor at home becomes general for children. Other serious forms of child labor are carrying and selling souvenirs at touristic sites.

“In serious cases of child labor, children are forced to become prostitutes, to sell drugs, and to do other illegal activities. Also, the present difficult time of the economy can crate barrier against two defined goals of the Royal Government: First, to abolish the worst forms of child labor by 2016, and secondly, to reduce child labor of all forms to only 8% by 2015.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Ms. Prak Chantha, said that due to the economic crisis, child labor and education become worrying problems, and there should be discussions about the extent of the impact, and special attention to children, because they are ‘the young bamboos to replace the old bamboos,’ and the Constitution states also the fundamental rights of children.

“Mr. Chey Chap went on to say that it is the proper time for all relevant sides to cooperate on children’s education and on the reduction of child labor, in order to jointly assess the impact of the economic crisis on education and on labor, to establish policies for the present and for future problems of each sector, and to create immediate responses to solve the challenging problems of children.”Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2032, 26.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #272, 26.8.2009

  • Japan Grants More Than US$10 Million to Create a Sea Water Fish Breeding Center [in Sihanoukville]
  • The Authorities Reject Criticism by the Opposition Party that Crime Cases Rise [in Phnom Penh – without presenting data to disprove the accusation]
  • More Than 100 Families in Srae Ambel District Went to Protest about Land Issues to the Koh Kong Municipality, Accusing Salt Field Owners of Grabbing Collective Land

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2032, 26.8.2009

  • The Economic Crisis Has Impacts on Education and on Child Labor in Cambodia
  • The Government Issues a Statement on Land Policy
  • A Person Is in Fears, because His Name Is on the Leaflets [scattered recently in Phnom Penh, criticizing the performance of the government], and He Ran to Stay at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [in Phnom Penh]

Note:

The main points of the land policy statement:

  1. Create taxation on real estate steadily, clearly, and fully based on an agreed upon data system, in order to strengthen efficiency in controlling the state’s real estate
  2. Register land titles countrywide transparently and effectively on all real estate, both on state and on private land
  3. Continue to implement the policy not to collect taxes on agricultural land from farmers who do farming, but in the meantime, there must studies for collecting taxes annually from real estate which is not used as family-farming land
  4. Create land maps to note land prices, and initiate a process to assess the prices of real estate at populated and rural areas, and observe the development of prices
  5. Encourage the private sector to measure land under the control of the office of cadastral survey, and to continue to solve land disputes outside of the court system through an Administration Committee, composed of the cadastral survey committees on all levels, and the National Authority for Solving Land Disputes, especially on land disputes with multiple claims

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #476, 26.8.2009

  • A Parliamentarian [from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann] Said that there Is no Import Tax on Motorbikes, because Tax Officials Collude with Businesspeople [allowing them to import without paying tax – for a bribe]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6738, 26.8.2009

  • Tree Logging and Carrying them from the Dangrek Mountains: The Money from Businesspeople Makes Citizens to Risk Their Own Lives [to do these illegal activities at the border – taking trees from both sides of the border]
  • The General Director of an Australian Company [OZ Mineral] Is Supported by the Cambodian Government to Explore Mining [within three years, this company has spent approx. US$10 million for mining, and it claimed that there will be real results in 2010]
  • The Drought Is Still a Challenging Problem for Khmer Farmers [according to the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), by August 2009, drought occurrs in eight provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat, Kompong Thom, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4982, 26.8.2009

  • It Is Announced that a Large Number of Cambodians Troops Will Be Withdrawal from the Front on 30 August 2009 [in Preah Vihear]
  • A Man Has Been Detained for Four Years without Being Presented to a Judge, because His Case File Had Been Lost [he was arrested for stealing a mobile phone worth US$15 in 2005 – Kandal]
  • [Twenty] Korean Doctors and Nurses Treat People in Kompong Cham Free of Charge
  • A Civil Society Organization [the NGO Forum] Welcomes the Decision of the Vietnamese Government on the Sesan V Hydro-Electric Development Project [the Vietnamese government decided not to build the dam, as it would not provide economic benefits]
  • A Japanese Company [Marubeni] and INPEC Said They Have Sent Document [to the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia] to Express Their Interest to Participate in Exploring Oil in Cambodia

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1780, 26.8.2009

  • Opposition Party Does Not Expect Much from the Hearing of Mr. Ho Vann [accused of defamation by 22 military officials, to face the court on 9 September 2009, saying that the court is dominated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party]

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The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia Held a Meeting to Conclude Its Activities – Tuesday, 25.8.2009

Posted on 26 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“Phnom Penh: The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia released the results from its checking the educational progress during the Foundation Year education [the Foundation Year is defined as the first academic year towards achieving a bachelor degree] of 38 higher education institutions, which found that 15 educational institutions performed very good, 15 performed good, and 8 performed moderate during the year 2008-2009.

“The findings of the assessment were announced during a meeting of the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia in the morning of 24 August 2009 at the Council of Ministers, under the presidency of the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said that the main mission of the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia is to assess the quality of education of higher education institutions, based on a set of standards, on which also all relevant sides, such as higher education institutions and relevant ministries, have commented. The assessment of the quality of education is a difficult task, requiring thorough attention and extreme carefulness, otherwise there might arise various kinds of criticism.

“According to the report of the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia, the assessment of the quality of education has two stages: the assessment of the quality of education during the Foundation Year education, based on six characteristics, and the assessment of the quality of education of educational institutions, based on nine standards, which are planed to be achieved by 2010, following pre-set stages and procedures.

“The Foundation Year education programs of 35 higher education institutions were assessed. The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia fully accepted the Foundation Year program of 19 institutions, while the programs of a further 16 institutions were accepted temporarily. This year, there were no higher education institutions where their programs were rejected [as not qualified].

“During the assessment of the quality of the Foundation Year programs, working groups implemented procedures for the assessment and for observations, and set up clear procedures for the task, in order to ensure fairness and transparency in their assessments.

“Based on some reference document, including documents of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University – 上海交通大学 – and the Times of London Higher Education Survey, the ranking of universities in the world usually focuses on the following major criteria:

  1. Assess former students
  2. Assess accomplishment awards
  3. Assess the number of learners and researchers of various subjects
  4. Assess the number of articles published in humanities and in science
  5. Assess the outreach of universities by covering the percentage of foreign lecturers, the percentage of foreign students, the proportion between the number of lecturers and students, the size of libraries, and the number of books
  6. Assess assessments by partner universities
  7. Assess assessments by employees
  8. Assess assessments by staff and students of universities etc…

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4981, 25.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #271, 25.8.2009

  • Protests [by about 1,100 people, mostly moto-taxi and tuk-tuk drivers] Broke Out in Siem Reap and in Banteay Meanchey to Request the Royal Government to Lower Taxes [for the import and for registration license plates]
  • In Phnom Penh, 90% of Motorbike Drivers Respect the Law and 90% of Car Drivers Disrespect the Law [according to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema]
  • Hundreds of Houses Face the Impacts of the Restoration of the Rail Road System [because they live close to the rails, while the rail tracks are planned to be broadened – Phnom Penh]
  • Results of the Grade 12 Examinations [this year] Show that 77,79% [corresponding to 67,377 students of 86,610 students in total] Passed, Which Is 10% More Than Last Year
  • Three Vietnamese Nationals Were Sentenced to Serve Thirteen Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay Riel 14 Million in Fine [approx. US$3,500 for assaulting a man and killing him, and wounding another man seriously – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2031, 25.8.2009

  • A French Court Summons [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy to Defend His Case on 8 October 2009 [over a defamation and misinformation complaint, lodged by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong]; the Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Hold Hearings of [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ho Vann on 9 September 2009 [over a defamation and misinformation complaint filed against him by 22 military officials]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Phoned to Thank Troops Protecting the Border [in Preah Vihear]
  • A Chinese Man Was Arrested for Trafficking Women for Prostitution in Macao [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6737, 25.8.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Ask to Reduce the Consumption of Petroleum at Various Institutions
  • A Robber Killed a Woman, a Currency Changer, at the Kandal Market [to rob her money bag and to escape – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4981, 25.8.2009

  • The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia Held a Meeting to Conclude Its Activities
  • The Thai Army Commander Hopes that the Border Issues Can Be Solved, after Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Had Announce to Cut Down the number of Troops at Preah Vihear
  • Three Students Died and One Was Seriously Wounded by Lightning [in Moung Russey, Battambang]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1779, 25.8.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann: The Current Government Is Very Different from the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime [where the Constitution was clearly observed; he said so in response to a recent praise by the former King that the current government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen is like the government during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime]

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The Sesan Krom II Hydro-Electric Dam Affects Nine Villages – Monday, 24.8.2009

Posted on 25 August 2009. Filed under: Week 627 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627

“Phnom Penh: The Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam in Phluk village along the Sesan River in Stung Treng, to be constructed with a height of 75 meters from the bottom of the river, with the resulting lake having a total length of more than 10 km, will flood more than 30,000 hectares of land and force about 5,000 citizens of nine villages above the Sesan Hydro-electric dam to move out.

“The environment projects officer of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, Mr. Tonn Kunthel, said, ‘The Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam, to be built from early of 2010 to 2015, will affect nine villages in Sesan district lying along the Srae Pok River: Srae Kor 1, Srae Kor 2, Srae Sranok, Kbal Romeas, Kbal Spean Srae Pok, Krabei Chrum, Khsach Thmey, Svay Rieng, and Rumpot villages.’

“Mr. Tonn Kunthel added that ‘the 75-meter-heigh dam will submerge farm land of more than 30,000 hectares of the community and the National Road 13 from Stung Treng to Ratanakiri, worrying minority people who live along the Srae Pok River.’

“He went on to say that the environmental impacts will happen through the change in the flow of water: destructive floods which contaminate the water, landslides, loss of private land, loss of fish shelters and other water-borne life, and the sources of water-borne diseases affect the health of people in the community.

“All ethnic minority people living along the river will have to relocate to new villages far from their current villages, where the soil is not fertile enough for farming, and they will have to give up the crops that are providing good yields in their current villages.

“The Ratanakiri deputy governor, Mr. Mom Saroeun, said on 20 August 2009 in a celebration in Ratanakiri to mark the seventh anniversary of the three-river system, the Sesan, Srae Pok, and Sekong rivers, ‘Development cannot avoid certain impacts that we try to steer clear of.’ He added, ‘First we need to assess the impacts on the society, the economy, and the environment, especially to organize plans with the participations from all relevant institutions and from the communities, before any projects are finally decided.’

“Mr. Mom Saroeun said, ‘We will work together to take responsible actions to solve for existing problems emerging from the impacts, where we had found that there are more negative impacts than positive ones, and more loss than gain; project developers have to decide whether projects should be implemented or not, but their decisions must be really correct.’

“He added that not all developments yield profits, but they can also affect the society, the economy, and the environment.

“The Phluk Village chief, Mr. Khean Bun Heng, a 43-year-old person from a Laotian ethnic minority, told Deum Ampil at his village, ‘More than 800 villagers of the 227 families in Phluk village that would be affected by the Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam, do not want that some companies construct a hydro-electric dam up-stream from their village, because they fear that the dam might break, flooding their houses, damaging their property, and killing them.’

“Representing Phluk villagers, the Phluk village chief asks the Cambodian government to cancel the contract to construct the dam.

“Mr. Choeum Kea, chief of the Kbal Romeas village, which lies up-stream from where the Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam is to be built, in Kbal Romeas commune, Sesan district, Stung Treng, told Deum Ampil that citizens of the 120 families in Kbal Romeas village will be forced to move away from the Srae Pok River, because the village will be flooded with a water level more than 30-meter above the village. This village chief added that the Phnoung ethnic people in the village do not want to relocate to new places.

“He explained that all people of the Phnoung community in the village are doing farming on fertile land and respect the spirits believed to be protecting them. At new places for settlement, the land is not fertile and has many stones. It is a low-lying area where it is difficult to establish a village, because the area is regularly flooded and under standing water.

“It should be noted that the Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam in Sesan district, Stung Treng, is planned to be constructed from early 2010 to 2015. The companies managing the plan are a company from Vietnam, Power Engineering Consulting Corporation 1 (PECC1), and a Cambodian company, Key Consultants Cambodia (KCC), investing approx. US$816 million. According to a Memorandum of Understanding achieved in 2007, between the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Energy of Cambodia and Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the EVN will study the implementation of the Sesan Krom II project by assessing also the environmental impacts.

“The Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam will generate more than 400 megawatt for the provinces around Stung Treng, and the rest of the electricity will also be sold to Vietnam and Laos.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #270, 23-24.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 24 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #270, 23-24.8.2009

  • The Sesan Krom II Hydro-Electric Dam Affects Nine Villages
  • Two French Men Were Arrested for Alleged Child Pornography with Young Girls
  • Obama Will Visit China in Mid November

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #20, 23-24.8.2009

  • The Son of a High Ranking Official Drove a Car [with no number plate] and Crashed into a Car of an Official of the Russian Embassy, and Then Hit a Newsstand [the driver escaped immediately after the accident – Phnom Penh]
  • [The chairperson of the commission on Economy, Finance, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly] Mr. Cheam Yeap Asked [South] Korea to Help to Construct Another Bridge across the Mekong

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #475, 23-25.8.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Mr. Chea Vichea Welcomes the Government’s Lawsuit [accusing him of giving a baseless testimony that the government was behind the murder of his older brother Chea Vichea] and Does Not Need a Defense Lawyer
  • The President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association Asked to Punish the Heads of Provincial and City Education Departments Who Commit Corruption

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6736, 24.8.2009

  • A Woman Tried to Rescue Her Drowning [4-year-old] Son and Kept Her [3-year-old] Daughter near the Pond, but when the Daughter Heard the Mother’s Cry for Help She Too Went into the Pond and All Three of Them Died [Kompong Thom]
  • Siamese [Thai] Navy Commander Claimed that Their Warships Only Intend to Patrol the Sea Border [and there is no deployment at sea in the overlapping zone]
  • The Shukaku Company Donates US$10,000 through the 7NG Company to Create a Clean Water System [for 185 relocated families in Damnak Trayueng village, Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4980, 23-24.8.2009

  • The Prime Minister Orders the Withdrawal of a Large Number of Troops from Frontline in Preah Vihear
  • The Royal Academy of Cambodia Signed an Agreement to Create a Cambodian Confucius Institute [aiming at expanding education about cultural traditions between Cambodia and China]
  • Lightning Killed Another Person in Thma Koul [Battambang]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1778, 24.8.2009

  • ASEAN Countries Join to Draft a Petition to Request the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

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Laws, Regulations, and Orders – and What Happens in Reality – Sunday, 23.8.2009

Posted on 23 August 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 626 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 626

There is no doubt – according to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, this is a country which is to live as a state of law.

But we are mirroring, almost every week, where laws of the country, or regulations pronounced by the government, or orders given by persons in positions of high responsibility are disregarded. This is a fact, but this should not happen. Of course small or big violations of laws happen in every country. When we mirror quite a number of such violations, we do not focus on what violations of the law are committed just by some individuals. But we focus on examples where violations happen within the structures of society and its administration by the government.

Without being based on a clear definition, the term of a “failed state” is often used in international political debate and in the media reporting about it. This negative term is in contrast to a positive definition of one basic characteristic of what makes a state: a state is an institution which claims to have a “monopoly on the legitimate use of force within its borders” – to use a widely used description in the political theory of states.

When a state loses its ability to exercise the use of force effectively – like at present in Somalia or Afghanistan, where regional warlords, or well organized armed groups, or strong terrorist networks, or pirates operate regularly, and the government is not able to effectively control them by using the legitimate force a state should have. Then the nature and existence of such a state is being doubted. But the term has also been used to describe a situation where not political, but criminal activities become dominant in some geographical regions or fields of society – like in some Mexican border provinces with the USA, where hundreds of people have been murdered by illegal drug trafficking organizations, and the legitimate forces of the state have not been able to control and to put an end to such violence.

In international media there is also a wider use of the term for situations where laws are not enforced equally, because of high crime rates, extreme political corruption, illegitimately applied strong bureaucratic social control, ineffectiveness of the courts, military mingling in politics, or traditional cultural powers exercising more force than the laws of the state (in some cases where the laws proclaim gender equality, but cultural factors maintain the dominance or even violent oppression by men over women).

Cambodia has seen many years of economic, social, and political developments which have overcome the dangerously conflicting situation where different political groupings – and their armed sections – were competing with words and with arms to establish legitimate statehood, with the power also to also use legitimate force. The presence of UNTAC 1992-1993 and the establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia have brought an end to uncertainty – even as the military conflict with the Khmer Rouge in parts of the country continued until 1996.

All the more remnants of claimed independence from the rule of law, or just its disregard over extended periods of time, cannot be tolerated by a state of law. It is with this concern that the press reports when there is the perception of actions or actors to be above the law, and it is taking up such concerns, when we mirror such acts of defiance against the legitimate power of the state.

Last week, we reported, “The Prime Minister Warns Institutions Where Officials Take Anti-Aging Pills but Do Not Retire.” This is serious, because the institutions about which the Prime Minster speaks are not just some small private institutions, but he speaks about people with positions as public servants – employees of the state. They do not only not make space available for younger graduates to move in – maybe the retirement system as such is not taking care of the persons who should retire? However, a state of law cannot tolerate that the law is not being used to provide justice for all. But the Prime Minister adds a revealing observation, “But for officials who have support, have power, and have much money, the computers do not list them for retirement.” Corruptive power paralyzes the proper operation of a retirement system of the state itself, and does so with discriminating advantages for some.

We mirrored that “Community Forestry Committees in Two Provinces Ask the Government to Cancel Land Concessions for Tens of Thousands of Hectares” – as far as we know, there is a official limit of 10,000 hectares per concession. And there are also reports, again and again, that one big Cambodian company has by far much larger concessions. How can the perception be removed that having a lot of resources can make one to be above the law? What is true: Is there such a limit? Or: Is there such a company which controls much more than is legitimate for others? If both these pieces of information are true, there is a problem with the state of law.

There are positive signs. The press carries often reports about illegally cut wood being transported – with locations and dates given, and sometimes also reports about the attack on journalists who try to document such activities by taking pictures – and being attacked for it. Not often we have also reports like the following one: “Action Was Taken to Crack Down On Luxury Wood Worth Millions of Dollars within Three Days, and More Than 172 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized – Ratanakiri.”

But how often had the Prime Minister to call for an end to sand dredging – while actually an intervention by local authorities, on the basis of ministerial regulations or laws should be sufficient. But sand dredging still continues: “A Sand Dredging Company in the Keo Phos Region in Sihanoukville Is Violating Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Order to Halt Sand Dredging.” How much longer?

Recently, several Khmer newspapers had reported repeatedly about chicken meat of dubious quality being imported from Thailand without intervention by the authorities. This week we had even a report about the wider extent of such activities: “Law on Food Safety and Quality Is Not Implemented, Making Cambodia a Trash Basket for Foreign Leftovers.” Finally it was now reported that 10 tonnes of rotting chicken meat was confiscated and disposed of. Thanks to the continuing reporting in the media, the authorities finally also moved into action.

The press has to be praised to share information with the public, and to raise critical questions, where the authorities do not take the required action in time and on their own initiative, based on the law. Recently it had been reported: “Expert Official: Kompong Speu Deputy Governor and Oknha Tong Seng Constructed a 10-Floor Building opposite the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh, Violating a Ban by the Authorities” – according to this expert’s information, buildings in the area close to the Royal Palace must not be over 30 meters high. Finally, it was even reported: “Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Bans Citizens to Rent Rooms in the Illegal 10-Storys-High Building.”

When the former operator of the Renakse Hotel – immediately in front of the Royal Palace – got her 49 years contract retracted, there was also talk that the new owner Alexson Inc., to whom the property supposedly had been sold (we do not remember that there were any reports about an open bidding process before the sale), would demolish the building. What would be constructed instead was never officially announced, but when commercial developers in Phnom Penh took over property in the city, they normally had plans to build business centers or high rise housing. It is surprising anyway that a historical building, in front of the palace, is to be destroyed for commercial use. This will definitely be a much more serious intervention into the environment of the Royal Palace than the 10-floors building hundreds of meters away, in front of the Cambodiana Hotel.

Ten Floors Building - higher than 30 meters

Ten Floors Building - higher than 30 meters

What is highly surprising, however, is the fact that the construction of this building was going on for many months – and after the bare construction had been finished, work was going on to equip the building and to paint it. But the authorities in charge of supervising all construction activities in the capital city did not intervene, Only now, after the building is finished, questions are raised. How comes the authorities did not realize a problem much earlier? Who is responsible fo rthis oversight? Which laws will be applied to call the persons who failed to responsibility?

The media had also raised similar questions about the timing relation between the planning of the new building for the Council of Ministers – and the harsh criticism not only for poor workmanship, but also for its internal layout and its external access arrangement. As a result of such observatins at the end, its originally intended use will not be realized. The media, which asked for some explanation, for the public, at that time, were left guessing. Even so, the hope always continues that there will be more openness in sharing information – a natural feature for any successful democratic state.

Office of the Council of Ministers

Office of the Council of Ministers

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The Number of Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protesting against Their Eviction Declines Steadily – Saturday, 22.8.2009

Posted on 23 August 2009. Filed under: Week 626 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 626

“The Daun Penh authorities had agreed to wait seven more days before evicting people from Village 2 and Village 4 of the Boeng Kak community. The delay was made following the decision during a meeting with the Daun Penh authorities on 20 August 2009, when also the Phnom Penh Municipal deputy governor Koet Chhe joined the event. In the meantime, the number of people protesting against their eviction has declined steadily.

“On 20 August 2009, forces deployed by the the Phnom Penh authorities, dispersed citizens of 70 families, to stop them protesting in front of the Municipality, and yesterday [21 August 2009], there was a report that only 40 families [instead of 50] keep on protesting, and the number might still be smaller on 28 August 2009.

“Different news said on 21 August that some citizens stated they better die by the hands of the Khmer authorities, than agree that their houses are demolished by force by the machinery of the authorities.

“Boeng Kak residents said that the protest by citizens from Village 4 in the Boeng Kak region in Phnom Penh aimed to demand the Shukaku company of Oknha Lao Meng Khin, a Senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, to offer an in place development [as this was originally also discussed as a possibility]. This demand was raised again during the protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality on Thursday 20 August 2009, but the protesters were then chased away by the authorities.

“A representative of the 70 families in Village 4, Mr. Pov Toury, said that his villagers have not given up protesting, but they stay quietly at their house. If there is an action to remove their houses, they will struggle to death. He said, ‘If they come to remove my house, I will struggle to death… I cannot go anywhere else, because, you know, our houses are our lives.’

“But after that protest there was information that 30 families had agreed to remove their houses.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia yesterday morning that the authorities do not respond to the demands of the residents, disappointing many observers.

“A Daun Penh district councilor from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Heng Samnang, said that the authorities do not care to solve their demands. He said, ‘I also raised the case, but I do not have much power.’

“On 20 August 2009, a special working team of the Housing Rights group held a press conference to announce that citizens of Village 4 had agreed to accept the option of development-in-place offered by the government in 2007. But they do not agree to leave the Boeng Kak region for four years before they can return, because they fear that they authorities would forget the promise.

“Since the development plan of the Shukaku company started to move on, after the permission for the investment plan was granted in 2007, citizens of two villages of the Boeng Kak region have been affected. Some had finally agreed to remove their houses in order to avoid to be tormented by the authorities through violent actions as had previously happened to other villagers in Phnom Penh.

“Human rights officials from non-government organizations said that the inhabitants of at least four more villages will face eviction from that region.

“It should be noted that Amnesty International released a statement late last week, asking the Khmer authorities to immediately stop evicting citizens from Village 2 and from Village 4 in the Boeng Kak region.

“The statement of Amnesty International asked the authorities to reconsider the plan to evict citizens and move them to live in the Damnak Trayueng region, a suburb of Phnom Penh, because in that region, there are no proper shelters, there is no utility system, no toilets, no water pipe system, no health center, and no possibility to find jobs.

“Amnesty International asked also for clarification about the development on that total region of 133 hectares, and asked the Khmer authorities to specify clearly the date when the inhabitants are required to remove their houses, and to guarantee the citizens their right to return to the Boeng Kak region after the time of their temporary relocation is over.

“Furthermore, Amnesty International appealed on the Cambodian government to adhere to its obligations under international human rights treaties, which do not allow forced evictions, because they will lead to human rights violations.

“According to information from the authorities, so far 30 more families have removed their houses from the Boeng Kak region, and there are only about 40 families remaining. Thus, the delay until 28 August 2009 might make more families to agree to remove their houses. The authorities expect that it will be like the case of the inhabitants of 78 Group, where there was a delay until all citizens agreed to remove their houses.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #474, 22.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #269, 22.8.2009

  • The National Authority for Combating Drugs Rejects a Report about 60 kg of Heroin [that was confiscated in Indonesia, with the claim that it was transported from Cambodia]
  • 200 Prisoners [from among 3,000 in total] Were Transferred from the Prey Sar Prison [in Phnom Penh] to Prisons in Siem Reap and in Banteay Meanchey [as the Prey Sar Prisons cannot house them all]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2029, 22.8.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Amy Commander [General Songkitti Jaggabatara] Plans to Come to Meet with Cambodian Army Commanders [on 24 August 2009, to discuss about troops and the border issues]
  • Four People Died and Four Others Were Wounded in a Horrific Accident [where two trucks crashed into each other – Kompong Cham]
  • Drunken Driving Police Officer Who Fatally Hit Is Summoned to Appear in Court on 26 August 2009

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #474, 22.8.2009

  • The Number of Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protesting against Their Eviction Is Steadily Declining

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6735, 22-23.8.2009

  • In [Phnom Penh] City, 67% of Traffic Accidents that Happened during Daytime Were Due to Over-Speed Driving, and 50% of the Accidents that Occurred during the Night Were Due to Drunken Driving [in May 2009, 131 people died countrywide in traffic accidents]
  • Southeast Asia Is Being Threatened by Sea Pirates [according to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An]
  • Disabled Athletes Returned from Malaysia [after joining the ASEAN Para Games] with One Gold Medal, Nine Silver Medals, and Five Bronze Medals

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4979, 22.8.2009

  • Canada Is Happy to Continue to Help in Land Title Registration for Cambodian Citizens [by providing aid for this field]
  • A Woman [a currency changer at the Samaki Market] Was Shot to Death to Rob Her Money Bag [with about US$3,000; two perpetrators escaped – Phnom Penh]

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