Archive for November, 2009

A 30 Years Commemoration – Civil Society in Cambodia – Sunday, 29.11.2009

Posted on 30 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

The past weak saw a special anniversary celebration, which is in no calendar of national events: 30 years since NGOs started to work in Cambodia. Nowadays, when the participation of NGOs – foreign and national – is assumed as a regular feature of life in society, it is surely not easy to understand the extraordinary nature that foreign NGOs came to Cambodia in 1979. At that time, the majority of UN member states considered the Cambodian government to be illegal. The so called “Western” countries and the People’s Republic of China agreed on the point that the Khmer Rouge representative continued to legally represent Cambodia at the United Nations until 1990. Seeing this agreement between these two world powers normally not much in agreement, many Third World countries went along with this understanding. Only the socialist countries (except China) and India established diplomatic relations with the government in Phnom Penh after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime. And US citizens, working in Cambodia, even if their salaries did not originate from the USA, had to pay “punitive taxes” in the USA.

30 Years NGOs in Cambodia Celebration

30 Years NGOs in Cambodia Celebration

Eva Mysliwiec, now the director of Youth Star Cambodia, who had came to Cambodia in May 1980, spoke at the commemoration, on behalf of the NGO Organizing Committee, about the three decades of NGO partnerships with the people and government of Cambodia, saying,

“It is very moving to look around this room and to see so many people who have contributed to the Cambodia in which we live today. How far we have come since 1979!

I remember well my arrival in May 1980, in a country devastated by war and genocide. I remember vividly my first meeting with Samdech HUN Sen who was then Foreign Minister and 28 years old.”

There were only five NGOs, who had dared to break the boycot of their home governments: the American Friends Service Committee, CIDSE, Church World Service, OXFAM, and World Vision – now, as the Prime Minister announced in his speech, there are 3,207 NGOs and associations, that is 1,933 NGOs and 1,274 other associations. Eva Mysliwiec continued:

“The core of NGO work was focused on massive relief, meeting health needs and restoring agricultural production in order to prevent famine. Because of the embargo imposed by the Western Community and with precious few resources, NGOs found themselves in a unique role where they had to provide massive infrastructure assistance as well… NGO work in the eighties spanned virtually every sector of Cambodian society and economy, from the restoration of urban and rural water supply, to the rehabilitation of infrastructure, the provision of basic agriculture, education and health inputs, etc. – the list is endless.”

But in spite of all this emphasis on practical actions, she said:

“In my view, the most valuable role the NGOs played in the eighties was solidarity: bearing
witness to the suffering of Cambodian people, bearing witness to the unearthing of mass graves, bearing witness to the continuing hardship caused by the embargo and isolation and especially bearing witness to the resilience, ingenuity and determination of people to rebuild their country. They created a bridge between Cambodian people and the people in countries whose governments did not recognize Cambodia.”

This history has to be remembered, when nowadays, sometimes the opinion is expressed that NGOs have one role only: “to provide humanitarian assistance” – quite different from the wide variety of activities NGOs are engaged with in other countries of the world.

All the more it was interesting that also the keynote speaker, Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS (“Promoting a worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens who are actively engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity” – with member organizations in 110 countries), described the fundamental task of civil society not just in terms of development or humanitarian project implementations, but located their role in the present situation, after the collapse of many schemes based on an free-market system, where human rights an democratic are more under threat than before.

“In Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and Asia authoritarian governments are being permitted to crack down with impunity on civil society and media freedoms through new, draconian legislative and fiscal controls if they control access to energy resources, investment or markets… Funding for defending these rights, for strengthening civil society architecture and for building solidarity across civil society groups is also much harder to come by as donor resources are stretched by increasing domestic needs and by more immediate humanitarian needs…

“The possibilities of mounting a coherent challenge to the economic paradigm of market fundamentalism and the patent inequity of the institutions of global governance have never been greater. For the first time in history peoples from Michigan to Manila, Madrid to Mali, and Mumbai to Moscow can share the realization that the root causes of their individual problems, and hence their interests, are in fact, identical. From slums to forests, fishing communities to assembly-lines, indigenous peoples to suburbia – the people we so often refer to as ‘ordinary’ are increasingly aware of the connectedness of their causes. It’s up to us as civil society to provide the means for them to mobilize in solidarity with each other. We have unprecedented access to the information, networks and technologies that permit us to support their struggles against tyranny and injustice…

“Speaking in Moscow a few months ago, Barack Obama affirmed that ‘meeting these challenges requires a vibrant civil society; the freedom of people to live as they choose, to speak their minds, to organize peacefully and to have a say in how they are governed; a free press to report the truth; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; a government that’s accountable and transparent.’

“We know from experience that active citizenship is the only antidote to this takeover of governance and that investing in the creation, nurturing and protection of civil society rights is the only vaccine. We know, or ought to, that empowering people to defend their own freedoms to exist, engage and express is not only the most sustainable development strategy but the only morally defensible one…

“Despite, or rather because of, our lack of hierarchical command and control structures, our diversity and belief in values-led approaches, civil society is better equipped to grasp, respond to, and evolve collective solutions that require a fundamental shift in world-view than either governments or businesses. And possibly better at displaying the humility required to build the cross-sectoral partnerships without which we cannot possibly resolve these crises…

“Doing so will take more than a business as usual approach from us. It will take each of us as individuals, organizations and alliances setting aside our egos, our brands, our narrow self-interests and our differences to come together in unprecedented levels of collaboration and genuine partnership that focuses on amplifying the voices of those least heard, and of finding common cause across boundaries of nationality, geography and thematic interest.

“If we can aspire to that ideal, we may, just may, address the stupendous challenges before us and even realize the goals you have all dedicated your lives to, whether you approach that goal through the lens of volunteerism or human rights, faith or secularism, charity or human rights – the overarching goal of civil society in all its forms – a world based on equity and justice.”

Such a challenge to reflect, to consider a clear fundamental orientation for the day-to-day work of civil society is important. And it is equally important that civil society communicates clearly to the other sectors of society its claims and commitments. It is important to see what the suggested orientation is: “to struggle against tyranny and injustice, and for equality.”

The address of the Prime Minister dealt, according to reports, a lot with the planned NGO Law. There is some apprehension among the NGO community, because a current draft is not available for public discussion in the community.

Some examples given, why an NGO Law is important – like to prevent terrorist acts planned under the cover of NGOs – were widely not seen as convincing: the intended terrorist attack against the British Embassy had been stopped in time, and the Indonesian terrorist Hambali was arrested – both without an NGO law.

The following reported concern of the Prime Minister is surprising. There are detailed and elaborate forms from the Council for the Development of Cambodia – CDC – where NGOs have to describe source of funding and work plans – on the national level and in the provinces – which serve exactly this purpose since many years ago, though the Prime Minister said now:

“The Royal Government wants to know where NGOs get the money from and how they use it for what. ‘Just this they do not want to tell.’”

Here are obviously some misunderstandings about administrative processes involved. In addition, most donors, providing financial resources to NGO, have requirements for professional auditing, and the results are not secret. Compared to the recent calls by the Prime Minister to curb multiple remuneration payments to government advisers, combined with the repeated calls by the Prime Minister to economize gasoline usage by a better control on the use of public vehicles, allows the assumption that the handling of finance in the NGO world is comparatively well organized and transparent.

What is important, therefore, is the clear statement of the Prime Minister, that the NGO Law will not interfere with the normal activities of NGO: “I guarantee that it is not an action to restrict the freedom of NGOs, please believe me.” Should lower level authorities try to act differently, civil society can appeal to this public promise of the Prime Minister.

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The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison – Saturday, 28.11.2009

Posted on 30 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: The Appeals Court of Cambodia issued a surprising decision, sentencing Ms. Chea Ratha [a former military police brigadier general, who had a lesbian relationship with actress In Soklida] for 18 years to jail for an acid attack against the aunt of the actress In Soklida, and also other accomplices are to be imprisoned. The decision made by the Appeals Court at this time is totally in contrast to the former decisions made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to dismiss the accusations against the accused persons.

“The acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt had been brought for a hearing and judgment by the Appeals Court on 27 November 2009, with Mr. Seng Sivutha as the head of the council of judges, with Mr. Nhoung Thul and Mr. Thou Monei as members, and with Mr. Hean Rith as representative of the prosecutors.

“The judgment decided to uphold Decision 82, dated 31 August 2009, of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but rejected Point 1, which is related to punishments for all who had been charged. The new decision of the Appeals Court exempts Meas Mao, male, 40; and Meas Chandy from the charge of illegal gun use, but sentenced them to serve 18 years in prison for violating the right of an individual, and for planned and attempted murder. Chea Ratha, female, 43, was removed from the charge of illegal use of a weapon, but she is convicted to serve 18 years in prison for planned and attempted murder. Ie Puthea, male, 33, and San Savuth, called San Sanut or Nut, 29, were freed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but are to be imprisoned for 15 years for violating the right of an individual, and for collusion in a planed and attempted murder. Siek Sophal, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but is to be jailed for 15 years. Chan Dara, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, of violating the right of an individual, and of collusion in an attempted murder, that means he is free from all accusations. All the six accused persons were ordered to pay to cover the cost of the medical treatment and to compensate the plaintiff with US$100,000, and an arrest warrant was issued to arrest those who escaped.

“It should be noted that the acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt occurred on 8 May 2008 in front of the RHAC Hospital on street 433, Tuol Tumpung 1, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court had sentenced to dismiss the accusations against all accused persons, but the plaintiff’s lawyer later appealed against this judgment, and there was also a complaint from the prosecutor of the Appeals Court dated 23 September 2009.

“The reason leading to this new judgment is that there was an acid attack against the victim Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, by two unidentified persons, who rode a 2008 Viva motorbike, and then stopped behind her to attack her with acid, and escaped.

“After the event, the victim’s husband lodged a complaint to the authorities to solve the case according to the law, but he could not identify the perpetrators’ faces.

“According to a note of the victim read by a clerk, a day ahead of the attack, bodyguards and Chea Ratha came to her house to ask for information about her niece (In Soklida), but she said that she did not know where she was. They asked to check in the house, but they still could not find her. Then they left.

“A few days later, Chea Ratha phoned to warn her, ‘If you do not deliver In Soklida, there will be bloodshed.’ This i was recorded, and her voice was played in the municipal court. Later on, the acid attack happened on 8 May 2008.

“Sok Chey, a person who witnessed the event, said he saw two men, whose faces he could not identify as they wore masks, but remembers their appearance, as they appeared behind the victim, attacked her with acid, and escaped.

“After that, police arrested two perpetrators, after showing their photos to the victim. The victim was sure that they were the perpetrators, bodyguards of Chea Ratha, as the victim had gone to the accused’s house [Mr. Chea Ratha’s house].

“After hearing the information and conclusions from the prosecutors, the Appeals Court took the decision as mentioned above.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

Note:

The Camboia Daily reported on Saturday/Sunday 28/29, November 2009:

“Mr. Ratha’s defense attorneys Keo Ya and Nach Try, who had lobbied Cabinet Minister Sok An ahead of the municipal court trial of Mr. Ratha seeking his intervention to have the case dropped, said they were unaware of their client’s whereabouts. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said on Thursday that the lawyer’s letter was not considered in any way by Mr. Sok An, as it was the work of the courts.”

“There was no report that the office of the Deputy Prime Minster rejected this attempt, requesting an illegal act of influencing the court.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #348, 28.11.2009

  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a US$10 Million Loan to Cambodia to Counter the Impacts of the Economic Crisis
  • Cambodia Has a Family Counseling and Strengthening Center Called “Mlub Kruasa Center [“Family Shade” – in Phnom Penh, assisted by the French government]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2110, 28.11.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Asked the Court to Release Him [he said so during the last hearing of Case 001 on 27.11.2009 at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Because Somebody Just Looked Straight at His Face, Man Drew a Gun and Shot to Kill Another Man among the Crowd [the victim was injured while the perpetrator was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A Ghanaian Man Was Arrested after His Girlfriend Reported that He Was Involved in Cross Border Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #541, 28.11.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Send the Border Demarcation Document with Yuon [Vietnam] to the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6817, 28-29.11.2009

  • A Loan from Thailand Was Canceled, but Government Officials Said that Cambodia Has Sufficient Resources to Improve the 117 km of Road 68 [spending about US$41 million without the Thai loan -the Road 68 goes from Kralanh district in Siem Reap to Ou Smach and Samrong districts in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Nineteen Companies Received Economic Concession Land of More Than 80,000 Hectares, where Some Companies Are Having Disputes with Citizens [according to a report of the forestry authorities in Kompong Thom]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

  • The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison
  • In 2010 the State Starts to Collect Tax from House Owners [at 0.1% of a the value of a house]
  • The Sihanoukville Port Announced the Start the Construction of a Special Economic Zone [on 70 hectares of land]
  • Two Girls Who, They Are Aunt and Niece [to each other, 6 and 7 years old] Were Raped by a 14-Year-Old Boy [the teenage boy was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]
  • [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya: Thailand Will Not Negotiate with Cambodia as Long as [Thai fugitive ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is Still Advisor [of the Cambodian government and of Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Suspect Involved in the Massacre in the Philippines Was Charged

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Lecturers of the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture Wait to See How Chan Sarun Takes Action against Chan Nareth – Friday, 27.11.2009

Posted on 27 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“The rector of the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Nareth, is accused by lecturers working under his administration of being involved in corruption to take between US$300,000 and US$400,000 university resources each year.

“A local website wrote, following the claims of many lecturers, staff, and civil servants of the university, that Mr. Chan Nareth took the money, income of the university, for himself alone, while lecturers, staff, and civil servants receive only small salaries that cannot even support their daily living expenses.

“The lecturers describe on the website their accusation against the university rector Chan Nareth, claiming he commits corruption for his own interest, and at present he has luxury cars and several residencies.

“The Royal University of Agriculture is located in the Meanchey district of Phnom Penh; it is also called the Chamkar Doung School or the Chamkar Doung University of Agriculture.

“The lecturer Chhum Phetlun wrote on the website that since 1999, this university started to charge tuition fees from its students, for the studies that began in 2000, so it brings in US$300,000 to US$400,000 each year. This large amount of resources was not shared with lecturers, staff, and civil servants of the university to assist their family livelihood, but Rector Chan Nareth took it alone. Because they can no longer bear the greed of their director, they decided to disclose this case through the media in order to inform the leaders so that they take action to seek justice for lecturers, staff, and civil servants of the university.

“Earlier on, 72 lecturers, staff, and civil servants had thumbprinted a demand addressed to Mr. Chan Nareth to add US$6 per hour to the hourly remuneration decided by the state [for the lecturer’s remuneration], and to add additional payments for civil servants, who earn US$80 per month, and for other staff who earn US$50 per month, starting from 2010.

“The lecturer Chhum Phetlun added that previously, being afraid of the power and influence of Rector Chan Nareth, all lecturers, staff and civil servants did not dare to protest, or to report anything to higher level leaders. But now, because of the rector’s greed to take US$300,000 to US$400,000 per year for himself alone, they cannot stand it any longer, and are not afraid any longer, and they decided to report it to the media to help to bring this message to the leaders, especially to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, to learn about the difficulties of lecturers, staff, and civil servants of the Royal University of Agriculture of Chamkar Doung.

“Adding up the amounts of US$300,000 to US$400,000 each year from 2000 to 2009, it comes to as much as US$2,700,000 to US$3,600,000.

“Yesterday [26 November 2009] Khmer Machas Srok could not reach Rector Chan Nareth, who is being accused, for a comment.

“Analysts said that in this case, Mr. Chan Nareth probably did not dare to take the money alone, there must be some other higher leaders with whom he shared it, so that he can be happy above the pile of difficulties of many lecturers, civil servants, staff, and workers.

“Therefore, they wait to see what measures the higher level leaders of the relevant institutions, especially the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, will take on Mr. Chan Nareth, if this scandal is true.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #540, 27.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #347, 27.11.2009

  • Two Boys, Seven and Eight Years Old, Are Accused of Raping a 5 Year-Old Girl [Banteay Meanchey]
  • Two Girls [13 and 14 years old] Died in a Pond when They Took Clothes there to Wash [Kandal]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2109, 27.11.2009

  • Soldiers Patrolled the Border and Stepped on a Mine Left from Wartime, Resulting in One Death and One Injured in Thma Da Commune [Pursat]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #540, 27.11.2009

  • Lecturers of the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture Wait to See How Chan Sarun Takes Action against Chan Nareth

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6816, 27.11.2009

  • Asia Pacific Regional Conference about the Prevention of Violence against Woman and Children Was Held [in Siem Reap; and a 16-Day Campaign to combat violence against women and children was launched]
  • Terrible Trick: [Three] Men Cheated a Woman to a Guesthouse; Some Raped Her and Some Took Pictures of Her [Nude] Body to Extort Money from Her [they were all arrested – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #55, 27.11.2009

  • Duch Hearings Will Finish Today and the Judgment Will Be Announced in 2010
  • A/H1N1 Has Killed Five People [and the number of infected people has increased to 472 in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5058, 27.11.2009

  • A Thai Official from the Ministry of Defense and the Mother of the Thai Alleged Spy Will Meet Him Today
  • Robbers Shot to Rob a New Series Motorbike [then they escaped; the victim died at a hospital – Phnom Penh]
  • Siamese [Thai] Police Found 6,000 Explosives and 8 Guns Prepared to Welcome [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [during his visit to Chiang Mai]
  • Vietnam Approved the Plan to Create a Nuclear Power Electricity Generation Plant

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Cambodian Workers Lose Up to US$40 Million Due to the Economic Crisis – Thursday, 26.11.2009

Posted on 27 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian families lose between US$35 and US$40 million because of the global economic crisis, resulting in unemployment for 20% to 30% of the workers in the garment and construction sectors, and in tourism. As it is mainly the poor who are facing the impact, the United Nations released a report offering suggestions that can help reduce those impacts.

“In the statement, the UN said that what Cambodia can do to reduce the impacts of the global economic downturn becomes more an emergency topic, as the basis of fast economic growth in the past in the garment industry and in tourism is suffering from the recession of the global economy. 20% to 30% of the workers in the garment and construction sectors and in the tourism industry lost their jobs since late 2008, making them lose between US$35 and US$40 million to be sent to their homes. Impoverished people, mostly women in the garment sector, suffer from the declining economy.

“From a small village in Kompong Cham, 30% to 40% of the people had left their village to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to find jobs, but now they gradually return home. After two years in Phnom Penh, Mr. Chun Phon and Rany, his wife, lost their jobs at a construction site. They had earned about US$150 per month and could send about US$100 back home to support their children in the village. Rany said, ‘The money that we can now find is just enough only to survive.’

“Such cases are occurring all over the country, while foreign investment for construction projects is decreasing, buying orders for garment products drop, and the number of tourists is declining also. This downturn is not only a challenge for individuals, but also for the growth of Cambodia to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

“The most serious impact from the economic downturn is happening to poor people and to people living near the poverty line, especially those having debts to repay face more difficulties. Such cases happen mostly in rural areas, from where many vulnerable people migrate to the cities to seek employment. Women are among the most vulnerable people, suffering from the impact of this crisis. After they lose their jobs in garment factories or in the construction sector, because of the lack of other professional skills, most women who continue to live in the city have no choice but to work in the entertainment service industry. The report pointed out that also the children of those women suffer under the burden of the impact of the economic downturn.

“The UN had conducted a study to learn more about the impact of the global economic downturn in Cambodia, as well as to identify different measures to reduce the impact on human development already achieved, and to restart development to alleviate poverty, and to be prepared for the future. This report estimated the impact caused by this crisis at the national level as well as the impact on individual Cambodians. The report mentioned policy choices that can help to minimize the impact, including equal rights to receive incentives through lower taxes, structural reforms to improve the competitiveness of the country in the world, and reforms to develop mixed systems for national social protection, to lessen the impact of the economic downturn in the short term, and to bring sustainable and equitable growth back in the long term.

“The UN Resident Representative for Cambodia, Mr Douglas Broderick, noticed, ‘A social safety network is no longer considered as a luxury, as before, where only rich countries had the ability to maintain such networks. Such networks are also related to the success of not-so developed countries.’ However, he remarked, ‘On average, the expenses for safety networks in developing countries are from 1% to 2% of the GDP, but the resources allocated at present in Cambodia are less than 1%.’

“The global economic downturn creates also opportunities to accelerate reforms to prepare for the future, and to improve the competitiveness of Cambodia in the world. Recent events encourage such reforms. The UN vows to cooperate with the Royal Government of Cambodia to accomplish the country’s development goals. The global economic downturn poses new obstacles and political challenges, but provides also opportunities that cannot be overlooked.

“Phon and Rany are so worried about what to do in the future. Rany said, ‘We do not have rice fields, and now we only have little money… we need it for everyday expenses and for our children.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5057, 26.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 November 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1420, 26-27.11.2009

  • Cambodia and Laos Signed a Border Agreement [during the visit of the Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, both sides decided to consider many temporary border markers as final border markers]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #346, 26.11.2009

  • [Twenty one] Japanese Investors Visit Cambodia [to study the potential of the economy and of investments in Cambodia]
  • Corruption of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Disclosed at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture [lecturers, civil servants, and staff of this university had came to the headquarter of Deum Ampil to discribe the corruption of the rector, Mr. Chan Nareth, accusing him of being involved in corruption, taking US$300,000 to US$400,000 each year]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2108, 26.11.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Lawyers Suggested to Include Armed Conflict [between Cambodia and Vietnam] into the Case 002 [but not in Duch’s case, claiming that Duch was not involved in war crimes]
  • [Philippine President] Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Promised to Find Justice for the Victims of the Massacre of 52 People [related to elections]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #1820, 26.11.2009

  • [Chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit of the National Assembly] Cheam Yeap: The Government Is Preparing a Law to Collect House and Land Taxes
  • The Government Should Reduce Advisers, but Should Keep Contracted Teachers [according to the Sam Rainsy Party and the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association – the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports ordered to reduce the number of contracted teachers by 50%, more than 10,000 teachers, in 2009 and 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6815, 26.11.2009

  • The Court Hearing of the Tiger Head Group That Planted a Bomb in Front of the Ministry of Defense Is Delayed until 3 December 2009
  • During a Two-Days Crackdown on Hectic Wood Transports, Three Cubic Meters of Wood and an Old Car Were Seized [Kompong Chhnang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #54, 26.11.2009

  • Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Asked to Jail [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch for 40 Years for His Serious Crimes [where 15,000 people were killed]
  • The Kompong Thom Authorities Delay Using Force to Evict Disabled People from the Kraya Commune [to take the land for a Vietnamese company]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5057, 26.11.2009

  • Cambodian Workers Lose Up to US$40 Million Due to the Economic Crisis
  • Five Foreigners [three Thais and two Chinese] Are in Debt because of Losing while Gambling in a Casino – They Were Detained in a House in Poipet [three suspects were apprehended and two others escaped]
  • The President of the National Assembly, Samdech Heng Samrin, Asked Luxembourg to Expand Investments in Cambodia [the export of Cambodia to Luxembourg amounted to more than US$10 million in 2008 while the import was only about US$7 million]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1820, 26.11.2009

  • A Committee Demands the Release of [11] Villagers [arrested in a land dispute in Kraya commune in Kompong Thom; while local authorities plan to arrest 20 more villagers]

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Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non Government Organizations – Wednesday, 25.11.2009

Posted on 25 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: Pointing to the importance to create a law about non-government organizations (NGOs) being drafted by the government, the Cambodian Prime Minister said on 24 November 2009 that previous problems caused by some NGOs encourage the government to create a law on organizations of different kinds, in order to ensure their proper operation, but this law will not affect the freedom of the NGOs.

“Examples raised by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen during the 30th anniversary celebration of the partnership between NGOs and Cambodia, were of an organization which had been prosecuted in the United State regarding the adoption of children from Cambodia, which finally became human trafficking, and of another organization that sheltered under an NGO some years ago and had taken the British Embassy as its target for a terrorist attack, but this plan was suppressed in time by the government. [The terrorist] Hambali left Cambodia and was later arrested in Thailand, after the attack on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘These examples do not imply that the Royal Government is suspecting other organizations that are implementing good activities of participating in terrorism, but please do not forget that some organizations are doing bad things.’ Therefore, we need a law to control NGOs. He stressed, ‘I guarantee that it is not an action to restrict the freedom of NGOs, please believe me.’

“During the 1980s there were just less than 30 NGOs in Cambodia. But by 2009, there are 3,207 NGOs and associations, where 1,933 are NGOs and 1,274 are associations, that is why Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen observed that Cambodia is a heaven for NGOs that carry out different activities.

“The claim about the practicality of an NGO law was made, while an NGO law is being drafted carefully by the Royal Government; some NGOs expressed the fear that the Royal Government will exercise prohibitive controls over NGOs through that law. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘I am aware that some NGOs that have acted correctly, and they do not care too much about this law, but some organizations protested loudly, and I wonder why they claim to promote the rule of law, but they want to act without a law.’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen added, ‘Anyway, we will neither restrict the freedom to creat NGOs, nor take away the funding of NGOs.’ He added that some NGOs demand that the government has to be transparent, providing information, but they themselves do not have such transparency. The Royal Government wants to know where NGOs get the money from and how they use it for what. ‘Just this they do not want to tell, but they oppose the government. The Royal Government also wants to know how much capital is from government, from development partners, and from NGOs, so that we can know the total amount of capital to allocate each year in each sector, where at present, we do not control it and we are not aware of how many activities are contributed by NGOs. This point creates difficulties for macro management or other relevant tasks.’ Samdech went on to say that sometimes, there are some overlapping activities of NGOs, and what is more problematic is that some NGOs had expressed their voice absolutely in the same way as opposition parties. Such organizations protest more than others, because they feel afraid, just because the laws in Cambodia do not allow political parties to receive funds from foreign donors.

“Samdech continued to say that in the first stage of law enforcement on NGOs, there will be difficulties. Anyway, the Royal Government will make it function smoothly.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #3, 345.11.2009

  • A Man Entered a House to Rape a 14-Year Old Girl when Her Parents Were Not at Home [the man was arrested – Battambang]
  • The Laotian Prime Minister Will Arrive in Cambodia This Morning [to visit Cambodia officially on 25 and 26 November 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non-Government Organizations
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Did Not Take Office by Robbing Power from Others like it Happened in a Neighboring Country [claimed Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Three Top Drug Smugglers Were Arrested by Military Police in Takhmao [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #538, 25.11.2009

  • If [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Closes the Border, It Does Not Cause Any Trouble for [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, but for Khmer Citizens [who earn their living at those border crossings; but Prime Minister Hun Sen still announced his firm opinion that Cambodia does not care about the warning from Thailand to maybe close the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6814, 25.11.2009

  • Samdech Deckhor Hun Sen: Now It Should Be Time to Create a Law about Non-Government Organizations and Associations
  • The Former Singaporean Prime Minister [Mr. Goh Chok Tong, now a senior minister] Visited Cambodia [to study the current situation, especially different measures that Cambodia has been taking to deal with the global financial crisis and other future problems]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #25, 53.11.2009

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Asked to Jail [Tuol Sleng former prison chief] Duch for a Long Period [for the torture and murder of many people]
  • Oddar Meanchey Villagers [of 36 families] Sleep on the Ground opposite the National Assembly [they escaped from arrest by the Oddar Meanchey authorities over land disputes with Oknha and senator Ly Yong Phat]
  • Netherlands Wants to Invest in Solar Power [in Cambodia, worth US$300 million]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1477, 25.11.2009

  • Fire in Boeng Salang Commune Destroyed Two Houses and a Car, and Other Property Was Totally Burnt [the fire was caused by an electric fault – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5056, 25.11.2009

  • Drug Smugglers Shot Police in Response, Killing One Policeman and Seriously Injuring Two Others [two suspects, husband and wife, were arrested – Phnom Prek, Battambang]
  • Thai Former Prime Minister Mr. Samak Sundaravej Died of [liver] Cancer [both disputing countries, Cambodia and Thailand, expressed condolences over his death]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1819, 25.11.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Position is Upheld [by the Appeals Court] over [the president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Mr. Moueng Son’s Case [the court sentenced him to jail for two years for disinformation, over his comment about fixing of lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple]

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16-Day Campaign to Promote Gender Equality to Combat Violence against Women and Children – Tuesday, 24.11.2009

Posted on 25 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“In order to promote gender equity and the empowerment of women, and to reduce all forms of violence against women and against children, and to increase the percentage of citizens with a clearer awareness about violence, the Open Institute held a women’s forum under the topic: ‘Best Practice of ICT Use to Combat Violence against Women and Children.’

25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Open Institute will participate in an international campaign ‘Reclaiming Information and Communication Technology to End Violence against Women’ focusing on all activities considered as violence against women and children which come from a wrong attitude and lead to crimes. This campaign will take place until 10 December 2009, which is the International Human Rights Day.

“The executive director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, told Deum Ampil that the Open Institute is an organization working on the use of Information and Communication Technology to contribute to development of equality between men and women. She added that the Women’s Program of the Open Institute, in cooperation with the Association for Progressive Communication, will organize some activities to participate in the 16 days campaign under the topic: ‘Take Control of Technology to End Violence against Women’ [a collaborative campaign to use Information and Communication Technology like mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, e-mail, and pod casts to promote the end of violence against women]. She went on to say that this campaign is going to be organized with the goal to publish the campaign to contribute to ending violence through the use of Information and Communication Technology in women’s organizations, by users of Information and Communication Technology, and the public in Cambodia, to raise awareness about the different forms of violence against women, as well as to address how important the use of Information and Communication Technology can be [to combat violence against women]. She went on to say that to learn about a rich collection of information about laws, rights, gender, and other documents regarding development, on can visit the Women’s Web Portal at the following Internet address: http://women.open.org.kh/; also articles and short texts related to women’s affairs can be sent to a discussion list at the following address: gender@lists.open.org.kh .

“It should be noted that the history of the campaign to use Information and Communication Technology to end violence against women dates back in the Association for Progressive Communication since 2006, and it is used as base material in many countries of the world.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #344, 24.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #344, 24.11.2009

  • 16-Day Campaign to Promote Gender Equality to Combat Violence against Women and Children
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon Asked America to Cancel the Debt Cambodia Owes [of more than US$300 million since the time of the Khmer Republic regime – 1970-1975]
  • [Three] Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller Couple in Lvea Em District, Took 5 Chi of Gold Away [approx. US$690], and Assaulted the Husband Seriously [with a hammer on his head; then they escaped – Kandal]
  • Russian Investors and the Odessa Bank of the Ukraine Are Interested in Investment in Cambodia [in mineral resources, energy, agriculture, and tourism]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2106, 24.11.2009

  • Lawyers and Government Officials: The Cambodian-Thai Relation Broke Down due to [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government [that used the Khmer Preah Vihear Temple for its policy – according to a forum held on 23 November 2009 in Phnom Penh]
  • A Christian Church’s Teacher Was Detained for Raping a 9-Year-Old Female Pupil Three Times in a Toilet [Phnom Penh]
  • Three More Houses Were Destroyed by Fire in Svay Pak Commune because of Electric Faults [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #537, 24.11.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] High Ranking Official from the Ministry of Defense [who came to Cambodia] Requested Bail for the Siamese Man [accused of spying] or to Extradite Him to His Home Country

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #537, 24.11.2009

  • The Information that Cambodia Will Have an Anti-Corruption Law Soon Is Welcomed [by the Sam Rainsy Party and by the political observer, Ms. Chea Vannath]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: The Management of Natural Resources in Cambodia Is Not Good, because the Parliament Dominated by the Ruling Party Is Poor in Checking and Monitoring

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6813, 24.11.2009

  • Japan Grants US$12 Million to Cambodia to Clear Mines and to Assist Mine Victims
  • The Government Rejected a Thai Spokesperson’s Accusation that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Daughter Plans to Control Stocks of the Cambodia Air Traffic Service
  • A Terrible Man Raped His Sister-in-Law and Stabbed Her to Death, then He Was Arrested [Koh Kong]

Meatophoum, Vol.53, #752, 27-28.11.2009

  • Former US President [Mr. Jimmy Carter] Announced to Build 6,000 Houses for Khmer Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #52, 24.11.2009

  • The Authorities Destroyed [18] Sites Producing Mreah Prov Oil [from a large softwood tree, used as an ingredient to produce ecstasy] at the Kravanh Mountain Range Area in Pursat [the sites are controlled by Vietnamese experts who moved to Cambodia after Vietnam banned such products in 1999; however, it is not known how many people are responsible for those sites]
  • 180 [Cambodian] Delegates and Athletes Will Attend the [25th] South East Asian Games in Laos

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5055, 24.11.2009

  • The Hearings of [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Arrive at the Last Stage [lawyers from both sides were offered time to give their final conclusion about the case, and the judgment is expected to be made early next year]
  • The Seoul Women’s University of Korea Grants 20 Scholarship to 20 Cambodian Female Students Each Year [to study there]
  • The Son of the Owner of the Fishing Lot 18 Shot a Worker Fishing there to Death [the perpetrator escaped – Kandal]

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An Opposition Party: The Government Should Control the Cambodia Air Traffic Service Itself – Monday, 23.11.2009

Posted on 24 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“There had been several reports that information about confidential flight plans by the Cambodia Air Traffic Service (CATS) controlled by Thai people were leaked. The opposition party has demanded that the government should take control of the air traffic control itself, but there is no response. And now everything seems somewhat too late.

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, spoke to the media late last week, saying that the government should take the CATS company under its control to ensure that there is no economic loss, and it would be easier for the government to control national secrets. Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘The Sam Rainsy Party had mentioned this case many times before, suggesting that all these important tasks should not be given to foreigners, and the government should control it by itself. But the state does not care.’

“In January 2001, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of the Cambodian government signed an agreement with the [Thai] Samart Corporation, providing an exclusive license for 22 years to this company, to organize, operate, and maintain a system for air traffic routing for civil aviation companies in Cambodia, and this company is also required to conform to the technical standards of BCT [an aviation maintenace company]. After receiving the license from the Cambodian government, Samart very quickly prepared the bidding procedure for the radar system and set up the necessary tools needed for its effective air traffic control operations.

“A parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, agreed that it would be very good if the government would reconsider the air traffic control agreement with the Thai side. He added that Cambodia should have the ability to control this company, rather than allow foreigners to continue to control it. He said, ‘We should recheck that investment agreement, and we should check whether our human resources can take the place of the foreigners.’ He explained that Cambodia jointly created the company CATS with Thailand, because, at that time, Cambodia did not have sufficient experts, and air traffic was not so busy [like it is at present]. Mr. Cheam Yeap went on to say that to continue to let foreigners do the air traffic control affects the security of our nation through the secret release of confidential information to their government, adding that foreigners are not honest to us. He said, ‘Do not trust foreigners but only those having the same blood as Khmers. If we let them be at that place, they might release confidential information about national security, as one Thai person did already. They are not 100% honest towards us.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap continued to say that according to new Article 90 of the Constitution of Cambodia, the Royal Government can make a request to the National Assembly [“The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax.”]. Then the National Assembly will exercise its right to cancel any contract that can affect the national interest. The Thai spy can be considered as proof to cancel that contract. Another Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that the opposition party had expressed concerns since the beginning about problems of national security. Now, it happened as the Sam Rainsy Party had been concerned. He said he will write a letter to the government, because it is related to national security.

“He said, ‘I also saw information about the arrest of the Thai spy. I think it is an opportunity to respond to the Ministry of Defense and the Council of Ministers which had claimed that there would be no problems, but the problem exists now, and I want to know what measures they take.’ He emphasized that he will write a letter this week to the government to request it to check the control over the CATS company.

“Because of the secret copy of the flight plan of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the Cambodia government ordered all Thai [CATS] personnel to stop working, after Mr. Siwarak Chutiphong, 31, had been arrested for spying, while the eternal friend of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thaksin Shinawatra, visited Cambodia, to give a lecture about the Cambodian economy, as he is now an economic advisor of Cambodia.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1817, 23.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #343, 23.11.2009

  • Forty Eight [not well-known] Civil Society Organizations Support the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [according to their joint statement]
  • The Ministry of Information Asks All Television Stations to Accept to Broadcast Advertisements for Khmer Sports and to Stop Broadcasting Foreign Sports
  • Forty Two People Died, Sixty Six Are Missing, and More Than 100 Were Injured through an Explosion in a Coal Mine [in China]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2105, 22-23.11.2009

  • A Lawyer Will Request Bail for Siwarak Chutiphong on Monday [this Thai engineer was arrested for copying the flight plans of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to send them to Thailand]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #436, 22-23.11.2009

  • The Government Recognized that there Is Waste of National Resources and there are Wrongly Allocated Expenses

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6812, 23.11.2009

  • The Three Samdechs [Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister; Samdech Heng Samrin, the President of the National Assembly, and Samdech Chea Sim, the President of the Senate] Responded to Samdech Euv [the former King] that the Setting of Border Markers and of the Border Line Is Done Based on the Map Deposited at the United Nations in 1964
  • 40,000 Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of Thai ousted and fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Prepare to Demonstrate against [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva in Chiang Mai, while 1,000 Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators Rallied to Demand the 4.6 Square Kilometer Land [near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man like an Animal Raped His 10-Year-Old Daughter Three Times, and then He Was Arrested [Kandal]
  • A French Man Took an Underage Girl to Have Sexual Relations into a Guesthouse and Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #51, 23.11.2009

  • A Thai Engineer Acknowledged that He Provided Information [about the fight plans of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra] to the [Thai] Embassy [in Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Has Invested US$600 Million in Rubber Plantations in Cambodia [it plans to plant rubber trees on 100,000 hectares of land in Mondolkiri, Kompong Thom, Kratie, and Ratanakiri by 2012]
  • Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Kill [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [by blowing up his car during his visit to Chiang Mai]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 22-23.11.2009

  • Former US President [Jimmy Carter] Helped to Build 21 New Houses for Poor Cambodians [Kompong Speu]
  • [Two] Robbers Shot at a Student to Rob His Motorbike, but the Bullets Ricocheted and Hit and Injured Two Children [who were playing in front of their house during the robbery; the robbers escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Deaths from Swine Flu [A/H1N1] Has Increased to 6,660 [worldwide, according to the World Health Organization]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1817, 23.11.2009

  • An Opposition Party: The Government Should Control the Cambodia Air Traffic Service Itself

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3,500, 22.11.2009

  • Cambodian Expands Diplomatic Ties in New York [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is responsible to organize documentation to establish diplomatic ties with some countries that have not established contacts with Cambodia]

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Considering Public Financial Resources – Sunday, 22.11.2009

Posted on 23 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

This Saturday, we reported: “According to a recent notification from the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government decided to suspend all promotions for government positions in 2010. If a promotion in any position is planned, it has to wait until 2011.” That was even more surprising than another report which the Mirror carried on 10.11.2009: “The Government Cuts Salaries of Advisers” – which, in a way, was only the correction of a violation of common sense (and economic justice): Why should only some public servants, employed full time, get a second salary for an additional function as adviser, a task to be adhered to during working hours which are already covered by another salary? But such double, or even multiple payments for some persons, seem to have gone on for years. In many other countries, the Auditor General – being an independent position without special loyalties – might have intervened many years ago.

When working to select and to present texts for the Mirror, related to some new millions of dollars “to help Cambodia,” it is surprising that quite often the text does not specify whether this refers to a credit to be paid back, or to a grant. Even some statements of preference, from where it is more agreeable to receive funds – whether there are conditions of transparency or of human rights adherence part of the agreement, or whether funds come without such expectations – do not distinguish between grants and loans. Though the latter have a minor condition: they have to be paid back.

The Mirror referred last month to the loans of about US$ 1 billion Cambodia had contracted with China in 2008 and 2009, continuing: “We are not aware that details about the timing and the terms of the re-payment obligations were published. Neither did we see any evaluation of the situation in terms of what is called a “sustainable external debt” – which is defined by some scholars of economics as “a situation where a country is expected to be able to meet its current and future debt obligations in full, without recourse to debt relief, rescheduling of debts, or the accumulation of arrears, and without unduly compromising growth.”

Some old debts did received special attention in recent reporting. On 11 November 2009, one paper had reported, supposedly based on information from high ranking Cambodian officials, that the Russian Government is considering to cancel the US$1.5 billion debt that Cambodia owes to Russia. But this had to be corrected on the basis what high ranking Russian officials said: when the president of the National Assembly and his delegation returned without success from Russia: “Russia Refuses to Cancel Debt” – it was clear that in spite of similar efforts in 2006 and 2008, the Russian government had not agreed to wipe out these old debts from the 1980ies. While we did not see details about the related negotiations, it is interesting to remember what had been reported formerly in 2007: that the Russian government is prepared to consider arrangements for the old debts under three conditions:

  1. Russia asks for the resumption of Moscow-Phnom Penh flights, for the promotion partly of tourism, and partly of investment.
  2. Russia asks Cambodia to strengthen military relations between the two countries by asking the ministries of defense of the two countries to have good relations again, because so many members of the Cambodian armed forces studied in Russia; therefore, the Cambodian Government should accept the request and organize those who studied military affairs in Russia again, and Russia, in turn, promises to accept Cambodian students to study in Russia.
  3. Russia sees the possibility to exploit natural gas in Cambodia, and asks the Cambodian National Assembly to facilitate relations, so that Russia can come to invest in oil drilling, because Russia has long years of experience in [oil and] gas drilling and hopes that Cambodia will allow Russian investors to come to invest in natural gas exploitation in Cambodia.

We do not remember that these points – especially as they relate also to untapped oil resources – have ever been mentioned in the more recent reports about maritime oil resource negotiations with a number of other countries. It should therefore be no surprise that the latest delegation to Russia to discuss the old debts did not bring the expected solution: that Russia would simply write off US$1.5 billion.

Another old, much much smaller debt, also shows up from time to time. We quote old headlines as a reminder:

  • 16.2.2008: US Demanded Debt [of approx. $154 million out of the debt of $339 million], Cambodia Said the Debt Was Owed by an Illegal Government [of the Khmer Republic]
  • 18.2.2008: US Discusses Debt Owed by Lon Nol Era; General Opinion Says US Should Better Cancel the Debt
  • 8.9.2009: America Hopes that an Agreement on the Cambodian Debt to the USA Will Be Achieved Soon to Cancel the Cambodian Debt
  • 23.9.2009: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. Hor Namhong Will Discuss Possible Solutions to the Debt from the Time of General Lon Nol’s Regime [the Khmer Republic] of More Than US$300 Million That Cambodia Owes America

To look forward to comprehensive information about all debt obligations, in light of what economic theories say about an appropriate “sustainable external debt” ratio is not unreasonable.

The recent dramatic decisions, to cut the salaries of the large number of advisers, and to freeze all promotions in the civilian and uniformed services, “aiming to save state resources in 2010,” is a signal of a new approach to handle public funds.

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The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010 – Saturday, 21.11.2009

Posted on 22 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

“According to a recent notification from the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government decided to suspend all promotions for government positions in 2010. If a promotion in any position is planned, it has to wait until 2011.

“Formerly the Royal Government, in addition to having already a heavy overhead apparatus with many officials, had nominated countless advisors at ministries and at other institutions, and ministers and heads of institutions had appointed their officials to hold many positions. In any ministry, there are many directors and deputy directors. In a department, there are at least 10 deputy directors, while in the police, the military, and the military police, there are also many who are nominated as deputy directors… This makes the government to carry a burden of ever increasing expenses.

“According to the notification signed by a secretary of state of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Prak Sokhon, on 21 October 2009 and sent to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and to the Council of Administrative Reform, the Royal Government decided to delay all promotions for positions of government positions, and all promotions of ranks [for police and the military], and it will not increase any allowances [like retirement benefits] etc. for the one year of 2010, and it will reconsider these cases again in 2011. According to the same notification, the Royal Government ordered also to stop the implementation of decisions for the ‘priority cluster’ [formerly identified as important areas in the administration to receive special financial support], and additional incentives based on work achievements for 2010.

“The notification added that the above plan is a measure to implement the budget implementation draft for the management of financial resources in 2010, aiming to save state resources in 2010.

“It should be noted that the Royal Government decided recently also to cut and to reduce the salaries of many advisers who had been appointed in a continuing process. and who had received high salaries [in addition to their normal salaries], to get again only their normal salaries based on their current positions, in order to save resources for 2010.

“A government official said on Friday that the decision of the Royal Government to suspend promotions for government positions, and the promotions in rank, is a proper measure, because previously, the Royal Government, different ministers, and heads of institutions, had appointed too many officials. At some institutions, there are 10 to 20 deputy directors, until there is no room and space for them to sit. Such nominations only added more expenses for the state, both for salaries and for other materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #342, 21.11.2009

  • [Senior Minister and adviser to the Prime Minister] Om Yentieng: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Becomes Spokesperson of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit [Mr. Sam Rainsy said that Prime Minister Hun Sen is playing a dangerous game for Cambodia, as the biased foreign politics of Prime Minister Hun Sen makes Cambodia lose territory to Vietnam and lose good relations with Thailand]
  • [More than 30 officers of] Mixed Forces Were Sent to Destroy Drugs [ecstasy] Worth More Than US$100 Million on the Kravanh Mountain [more information about the crack-down will be released two to three days later – Pursat]
  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Sutheb: If [fugitive former Thai prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Wants to End Problems [of the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand], He Must Resign from the Position of Economic Advisor to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2104, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Open Hearing to Sentence [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch on 23 November 2009
  • A Drunken Woman and Gang Member Drove a Car and Hit a Policeman so that He Almost Died [she was arrested – Battambang]
  • Kandal Police Got Hold of a Group of People Who Had Used Death Threats via Telephone to Extort Money from Leaders and from Businesspeople [a suspect was arrested]
  • Within One Week, There Were 50 New People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Flu [increasing the number to 444 in total – Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #535, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Authorities Have Already Arrested Seven Villagers Who Resisted a Yuon [Vietnamese] Company from Grabbing Their Land [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6811, 21-22.11.2009

  • Result from the Council of Ministers’ Meeting: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Decided to Approve the Anti-Corruption Draft on 11 December 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

  • The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010
  • The Cambodian and Thai Defense Ministers Plan to Meet to Negotiate about the Border in Pattaya [on 27 November 2009]
  • Cambodia Controls the Cambodia Air Traffic Services – CATS – Company Temporarily, and Thai Personnel Is Required to Work from Outside Their Offices [Cambodia just does not allow them to go near the radar system room, but they are not dismissed – according to the Council of Ministers]
  • Cambodia Is Preparing a Petroleum Law [including regulations for petroleum exploring, and a decree for petroleum related contracts] while the First Drop of Oil Will Be Extracted in 2013 [according to government officials]
  • The Cambodian Banking System Is Recognized on the International Arena and in the ASEAN Framework [because of its stability and noticeable improvements – according to the 39th ASEAN banking council, meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh]

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The Ministry of Post and Telecommunication Will Set up an Equal Phone Cost System at the End of This Month – Friday, 20.11.2009

Posted on 20 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue until next Monday, as I was attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and i am now traveling back to Cambodia. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Mr. So Khun, who spoke to journalists in the morning of 19 November 2009 at the Phnom Penh Hotel, where he presided over a workshop about the joint use of mobile phone relay and transmission towers, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication of the Kingdom of Cambodia will set equal phone service costs at the end of this month.

“The minister said that so far, the post and telecommunication sector has advanced dramatically, and it is a pride of the ministry as well as of the Cambodian government under the wise leadership of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. However, together with this progress, the ministry noticed that mobile phone companies in Cambodia compete with each other over phone call costs. This is not yet considered as a conflict, but just as a sign of disagreements. Therefore, the ministry prepares to set a general cost system. The minister added that the cost that the ministry plans to set is not yet known, but the ministry is discussing to set a cost system that all mobile phone companies in Cambodia can accept.

“Regarding the workshop about the joint use of mobile phone relay and transmission towers, Mr. So Khun said that this is a good way to promote the telecommunications sector in Cambodia, because at present, this sector is being served by nine mobile phone companies and many ISP/VOIP systems. About 4,500 mobile phone towers have been set up both on the ground and on the roof of houses, in order to compete in attracting about 5.3 million clients, who need mobile phone towers so that they can use their mobile phones. ‘It is a great pride and we acknowledge that the telecommunications sector does grow, but meanwhile, we must think also about the environment, the stable health of citizens, and public order in the society and in the nation.’

“The general manager of the Tower Master Cambodia Co Ltd (TMCC), Mr. Ung Veasna said, the company had received concession rights to operate for 35 years to set up and to maintain mobile phone towers.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2103, 20.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #341, 20.11.2009

  • Cambodia Vows to Try to Find Solutions on Climate Change [by supporting publications and offering training to citizens about this problem]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2103, 20.11.2009

  • The Ministry of Post and Telecommunication Will Set up an Equal Phone Cost System at the End of This Month
  • The Government Issued an Instruction about Places where Smoking Is Banned [it is not allowed in buildings and offices of officials at different ministries, at municipalities, at district and commune offices, at meeting halls, at toilets, and in the entry and exit ways to official buildings]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #679, 20.11.2009

  • Development of Koh Kong [by Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra] to Become a Second Hong Kong Is Delayed for Two to Three Years until Cambodia and Siam [Thailand] Have Ended Their Diplomatic Disputes

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #534, 20.11.2009

  • A US Parliamentarian [Mr. Edward Roy] and the European Union Condemn the Suspension of the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy, Following a Request from Yuon [Vietnam, over his participation to remove Cambodian-Vietnamese temporary border markers; they consider this as a restriction of the voice of the opposition party]
  • Nine [Thai] Persons Working with the [alleged] Siamese [Thai] Spy [at the Cambodia Air Traffic Service] Were Expelled from Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6810, 20.11.2009

  • A Bilateral Meeting of Cambodia and the Inter-Government Committee of the Russian Federation Decided to Continue the Discussion in Moscow in 2010 about the Debt That Cambodia Owes [the debts that Cambodia owed since the Soviet era. Cambodia asked Russia to cancel it. But now, both sides agreed to further discuss it, later on in 2010 in Moscow]
  • America Grants More Than US$10 Million to the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (KHANA) [it is recognized by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, based in Britain, as a local non-government organization that conforms to international standards in working on HIV/AIDS]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #50, 20.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has the Intention to Help the Alleged Spy [now detained at the Prey Sar prison], but He Waits until Cambodia Finishes [court] Procedures

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5052, 20.11.2009

  • More Than Three-Hour Fire Destroyed 229 Houses at Chrang Chamres 2 Commune [because of a gas explosion from a house; there were no deaths – Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh]
  • Thaksin Wants to Live in the Northeast Border Area of Thailand [according to his website]

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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