Archive for April, 2010

The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held – Thursday, 29.4.2010

Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum was held in the morning of 27 April 2010 at the seat of the Council of Ministers. The forum was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen; other leaders of the Royal Government, from the private sector, and many other development partners, and diplomats attended the forum.

“Like at the previous time, the aim of the meeting, considered to be a kind of open ministerial session, is to jointly monitor the practical progress and improvements achieved, to see how problems, which were raised during the 14th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum had been addressed, and to know what other problems investors face in Cambodia.

“The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said during his speech opening the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum that the Royal Government had led the Cambodian economy to get across a most difficult stage of the economic crisis, where the Royal Government managed to ensure financial stability as well as macro-economic and social stability, established a more favorable environment for economic and business activities, and strengthened social safety for the citizens.

“He added that encountering the global economic crisis, the Royal Government had continually intervened in the taxation system for garment and shoe factories as well as for other industries supporting these fields. Reduced tax payments on income of the garment and shoe factories was extended until the end of 2012, resulting in monthly losses for the state of about Riel 4,000,000,000 [approx. US$940,000]. To reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 0% during that time resulted in additional losses for the state of about Riel 4,300,000,000 [approx US$1 million] per month in 2008 and it increased to as much as approx. Riel 9,300,000,000 [approx. US$2.2 million] in 2010.

“The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, chaired the event and waited to address all problems after they had been raised by the eight private sector groups. Then he dealt with the problems of the working teams for agriculture and for industry, relating to the export of agricultural products, even though it is recognized that there has been improvement in the commercial sector. Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sectors needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.

“Regarding these issues, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that such type of unimportant checkpoints should be abolished at all levels, especially when such activities are carried out by institutions which are not authorized for this, and he called to abolish such licenses required by unnecessary institutions, so that export business becomes more competitive exporting agricultural products of Cambodia.

“As for the tourism working team, Mr. Ho Vandy asked the government to reduce the price of plane tickets of Cambodia Angkor Air from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, to allow flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and to add another flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and to begin local flights between Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville.

“In response, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that Cambodia adheres to a free market economy. Thus, the government cannot set prices of flights as it is done in a planned economy. In relation to the request to begin flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, he said that the government does not provide exclusive rights to Cambodia Angkor Air, and other companies can operate direct flights. He encouraged Mr. Ho Vandy – if he could make any airline to start direct flights to Sihanoukville he will request that Mr. Vandy should get a medal for this incentive.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen also addressed issues in other sectors, mostly concentrating on the lowering of tax for the import of raw materials and for means of transport, and the lowering of VAT. At the same time, he addressed also problems relating to trade unions and workers. In addition, he clarified some cases, where the private sector had called to strengthen the competition of the garment sector by considering that the expensive prices of telecommunication, transportation, and electricity are a burden.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Was Nominated as a Member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #463-464, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Government Encourages the Private Sector to Export Agricultural Products
  • Two Murderers Were Arrested for Killing a Woman to Rob Her Lexus Car to Sell it in Vietnam [Phnom Penh]
  • The Prime Minister Reminded the Authorities to Crack Down on Illegal Check Points

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22-342235, 28-29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The BHP Billiton Mining Company Did Not Give Illegal Money to Cambodia [to get a mining exploration concession from the government]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Ambassadors in Cambodia Not to Interfere in the Internal Affairs of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Decide on Bail Requests of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan on 30 April 2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and To Demonstrate [on 1 May 2010, the International Labor Day] Is Their Right
  • The Australian Embassy Provides Scholarships to 40 Cambodian Students Every Year
  • The National Children’s Hospital Receives Medical Equipment Donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA, worth about US$200,000]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [COMFREL]: The Power of the National Assembly Is in the Hands of Only One Party, and Complaints against Mr. Sam Rainsy [filed by the government] Are Dangerous for Democracy
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked the Minister of Justice to Confirm the Conditions Under Which Courts Can Detain Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #159-160, 28-29.4.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: The Money from the [Australian] BHP Company Is Not Corrupt Money [he confirmed that the government was not involved in corruption with the BHP company in providing mining exploitation rights in Cambodia, but he said that this company did provide more than US$2 million for social development projects]
  • Tourists Arrivals Increased by Almost 10% in the First Quarter of 2010 [there were more than 680,000 tourists, mostly from Korea, China, and Japan]
  • Visakh Bochea Was Internationally Celebrated in the Angkor Area in Siem Reap [with an international “Trail of Civilization and Performance” with participation from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam]
  • Cambodia Lifts the Ban on Marriages between Khmer Women and South Korean Men
  • The International Monetary Fund: Cambodia Should Improve Investment Atmosphere [in order to attract big investors: maintaining the macro-economic environment stable, improving the physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, and electricity supply, ensure a high level judicial system that is independent, and keep a well educated labor force]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

  • The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticized Big Institutions of the World [the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different [independent] forecasts about the Cambodian economy]
  • 88% of Garment Factories Were Affected by the Economic Crisis while 12% Were Not [according to the International Labor Organization]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Visak Bochea Day, a National Holiday – Wednesday, 28.4.2010

Posted on 29 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

Deum Ampil had reported that “Cambodia will celebrate on Visak Bochea Day the birth, enlightenment and death to Nirvana of Lord Buddha on one day, the first full moon day on 28 April this year.

“’The ceremony this year will be presided over by Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly, and it is conducted at Phnom Udong,’ quoting a statement from the National Assembly. Buddhists around the world will mark the same day.

“This year also marks the Buddhist calendar year 2553.”

In order to share with our readers, especially the international readers, some more information about the role of this commemoration nowadays, I talked to some people, asking them about the meaning of Visak Bochea for them.

Everybody I talked to identified the day as the day remembering the birth of the Buddha – therefore some people called it “a day similar to Christmas on the Christian calendar.”

So what happens on this day? “Cambodian people go to the pagoda.” – “Did you go?” – “No. This is something old people do.” – This was the tenor of all responses I got, and I record this here, because it is obviously a problem that merits attention and discussion: What does this disjunct mean between the claimed action of “the Cambodian people,” and the inner distance expressed towards this tradition and its celebration. Occasional appeals “to uphold Khmer culture” will not bring much more clarity. What is the meaning of the basic values, described in Article 43 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – when it is known, but not finding much active and lively response?

  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to freedom of belief.
  • Freedom of religious belief and worship shall be guaranteed by the State on the condition that such freedom does not affect other religious beliefs or violate public order and security.
  • Buddhism shall be the religion of the State.

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Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools – Tuesday, 27.4.2010

Posted on 28 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: While the number of primary schools increases to almost 6,500 countrywide, this still cannot respond to the rising number of students every year, 5% of the children who cannot go to school are excluded.

“Does Cambodia have strategies to deal with this shortage? The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Mr. Im Sethy, said, releasing the publication of the report about Education for All on Monday morning, 26 April 2010, ‘The 6,500 primary schools are not enough. We have to construct 700 more school buildings to provide proper education and to increase the number of students registered in schools.’

“According to a report of the Department of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports in 2008 and 2009, there were 6,476 schools and 2,311,107 students in total in Cambodia.

“Mr. Im Sethy added that ‘Our rate of school registration covers only 95% of the respective age group. That means 5% of the children cannot go to school, as they live in remote areas, but we are planning to gather them to register to attend school.’

“He continued to say, ‘We plan to collect also those children, so that they can go to school.’ He added, ‘The Ministry of Education alone cannot succeed. It needs the involvement from other related institutions and development partners.’

“Nobody can achieve results by just talking, so Mr. Im Sethy asked the World Bank, that has provided already more than US$54 million, to extend its aid for the construction of educational infrastructure, because during the last two years, aid has not been used on time, as some areas in Cambodia had been affected by floods during the rainy season, making it impossible to construct schools.

“Mr. Im Sethy went on to speak about the strategic goals of Education for All. Cambodia created a National Committee for Education for All with a National Plan 2003-2015, considering the meeting in Dakar in Senegal in 2000, together with the involvement of related institutions; the achievements appearing today result from clear policies and strategic plans to achieve Education for All.

“He added, ‘The Education for All plan approved in Dakar focuses only on primary education, but Cambodia has bigger ambitions than this, that is to achieve secondary education so that all Cambodian youth can end in Grade 9 following Article 68 of the Constitution.”

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – Article 68:

The State shall provide free primary and secondary education to all citizens in public schools. Citizens shall receive education for at least 9 years.

“He continued to say that following the first stage tree-prone and rectangular policy and the Second Stage Rectangular Strategy of the government, at present, there are 3.5 million Cambodian people learning, or one among four is in some learning processes.

“The Representative of UNESCO in Cambodia, Mr. Jinnai Teruo, said that Cambodia has made a lot of achievements in recent years in the equity of school registration, the quality and effectiveness of education, and the success in strengthening educational infrastructure, especially the registration in primary schools that increased from 93% in 2008 to 94% in 2009.

“He added that nevertheless there is still no equity in the registration between children in urban and in rural areas. This issue calls for increased attention towards those children, so that they too can go to school; infrastructure should be built for those without the opportunity to receive education who are at present not in schools, so that Cambodia can become successful in the Education for All plan.

“A Representative of the Global Campaign for Education, Ms. Leng Theavy, said, ‘This year, like in previous years, we have organized events to publicize the global campaign for Education for All in Cambodia in order to receive the announcement of results, and to determine follow-up goals of the global campaign for education following also other signatory countries of the Dakar declaration of 2000.’

“She added that the agreement aims at promoting the joint commitment of the government, of development partners, and of non-government organizations of each country, to ensure that the goals of the Education for All plan will be accomplished.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2233, 27.4.2010

  • A Fierce Tropical Storm Destroyed 113 Houses and Killed a Young Girl [Banteay Meanchey]
  • An American Man Committed Suicide by Jumping from the Third Floor of a House [the reasons behind are not known – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6940, 27.4.2010

  • The US Embassy Celebrated the 40th Earth Day of Environmental Conservation [Phnom Penh]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Change Their Shirts while the Deadline for Them to Disperse Is Approaching

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3864, 27.4.2010

  • Mixed Authorities [border police and others] at the Poipet Border Crossing Continue to Extort Money from Cart Pullers Just as They Like

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #156, 27.4.2010

  • Draft Law on Compliant Procedures Involving Individuals Was Approved [this law offers courts the power to temporarily confiscate assets during divorce case proceedings to make sure that the property of each party is not sold before a verdict, and it provides to the courts the authority to decide on imprisonment to ensure child-support payments for children whose parents get divorced]
  • Cambodia Still Cannot Export Crocodile Leather because Crocodile Raising Has Not Met the Standards That Lead to Good Quality Leather [according to the head of the Fishery Administration Department, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • China Is Provided with New Power as It Became the Third Major Member of the World Bank [after the United States of America and Japan]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

  • Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools
  • Head of the Confederation Union [Mr. Rong Chhun] Plans to Play the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” on 1 May 2010 [but he waits for permission from the government; Mr. Chea Vichea was the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers who was murdered in 2004; so far, the perpetrators have not been arrested]
  • The [Ratanakiri] Provincial Authorities Collected More Than 700 Cubic Meters of Wood Scattered Disorderly in the Forest

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Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties – Monday, 26.4.2010

Posted on 27 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: Recently, Mr. Mam Sonando announced to create a new club – called ‘Democrats’ Club’ – to monitor the negotiations towards unification between the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties. This is the goal of the club, according to the president of the Human Rights Party.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, continued to express the intention to unite with the Sam Rainsy Party in order to be victorious in the upcoming elections, though the Sam Rainsy has not responded. Recently, Mr. Kem Sokha said that Mr. Mam Sonando has created a ‘Democrats’ Club’ to monitor the negations between representatives of the Human Rights Party and of the Sam Rainsy Party, to see which party is willing to unite, or if nobody intends to unite.

“During a recent talk with activists of his party in Prey Veng, Mr. Kem Sokha stated that there had been negotiations between officials of the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties, but they did not lead to any agreement, as Sam Rainsy officials suspect that the Human Rights Party is demanding too many conditions that the Sam Rainsy Party could not accept, so that the process towards unification got stuck. Therefore, another group, called the Democrats’ Club, was now created to monitor the negotiations. This group aims to find out which party intends to unite, and which does not.

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that Mr. Mam Sonando created this group in order to monitor the process towards unification between the two parties. He said that he does not have any problems – if Sam Rainsy agrees, he will unite immediately. He stressed that his party wants to unite not because his party is weak, but to move together towards victory in the forthcoming elections.

“Mr. Kem Sokha went on to say that this move towards unity is not only for the parties that have seats in the National Assembly, but for all parties, even if they do not have any seats at present, as long as they want to unite with the Human Rights Party.

“Regarding Mr. Kem Sokha’s claim that Mr. Mam Sonando has created this Democrats’ Club to monitor the process towards unity between the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy parties, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach [the Director of Sombok Khmum Radio] Mr. Mam Sonando for comments, as his phone could not be reached on Saturday afternoon of 24 April 2010. Previously, Mr. Mam Sonando had announced that he would send a request to the Ministry of Interior to ask for the creation of a ‘Democrats’ Club for Uniting Democrats.’ Now it is not yet known how far these plans have been progressing, but according to a source, Mr. Mam Sonando has fulfilled all conditions to request the Ministry of Interior to recognize this organization.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #462, 25-26.4.2010

  • The United States of America [through the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley] Praised that Forestry Crimes Are Intercepted and the Remaining Resources in Cambodia Will Be Preserved
  • Rain, Wind, and Lightning Killed Two Boys and Made Three Houses to Collapse in Kompong Cham

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #102, 26-27.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Confederation Union Calls for Participation [from the general public, civil servants, teachers, and workers] to March to Celebrate the International Labor Day on 1 May 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

    Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Begins Enlarging National Road 6A [leading from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap] to Reduce Traffic Congestion
  • Three Hundred People Protest as Police Does Not Arrest a Perpetrator, but Held a Man Who Tried to Help [sending an assault victim to hospital, but that assaulted man died on the way, and the helper was arrested by police – Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6939, 26.4.2010

  • Police Raided a Drug Abusing Place and Arrested 38 Young People – Children of the Rich [Phnom Penh]
  • Siam [Thailand] Released Seven Khmers to Cambodia through the Choam Sragam Border Crossing after Holding Them Two Years in Jail [for entering Thai territory to illegally cut trees]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3863, 26.4.2010

  • The Opposition Party Wants to See that the World Bank Investigation Is Successful [about the development of the Boeng Kak lake area] so as to Provide Justice to Residents of the Boeng Kak Lake Community

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #155, 26.4.2010

  • Boeng Kak Residents Call for the Provision of Land Titles as the Master Plan [for the development of the area] Has Been Approved [by the Phnom Penh municipal governor – but not been published; it will be sent for approval by the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • Three People Died in Svay Rieng [because of diarrhea; the local authorities blamed them for eating unhygienic food]
  • A Suspect Was Arrested for Carrying a 6-Year-Old Girl to a Rice Field while She Was Asleep, and then He Raped Her [Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5181, 26.4.2010

  • China, Japan, Korea, India, and the ASEAN Countries Will Join to Perform Shows of the Buddha’s Life in Siem Reap [from 25 to 29 April 2010 to celebrate Visakh Bochea]
  • Laotian Soldiers Killed a Khmer Citizen and Arrested Two Others [accusing them of entering their territory illegally to cut trees]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked for the Dissolution of the Parliament within 30 Days, while the Government Ordered the Military to Crack Down on Them [no ultimatum date given]

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Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

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Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia – Saturday, 24.4.2010

Posted on 25 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Imperial Government of Japan grants Yen 624 million, approx. US$6.5 million, for the establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the center will be held in the morning of 26 April 2010 in Tumnub Rolok commune, Sihanoukville, and will be chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, and by the Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Kuroki Masafumi.

“An announcement of the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] dated 23 April 2010 says that the plan to construct a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia was initiated with the goal to promote maritime aquaculture in order to respond to the demands for sea-food from a growing number of fishermen, and to reduce the pressure on fishery, as well as to curtail the import of not healthy fish from abroad.

“The announcement adds that the new plan, funded by the Japanese government, will also provide equipment and material for research, and support also the construction of an administration building, a building to store fish eggs before they are hatched, a building for hatching, a breeding building, as well as materials for aquaculture research.

“In addition to research and the development of marine aquaculture, the plan also focuses on building up the capacity of the center to produce 400,000 young fish per year.

“There are three fresh water aquaculture development centers in Cambodia: in Bati district in Takeo, in Prey Veng, and in the Chrang Chamres commune in the Russey district, Phnom Penh.

“It should be remembered that aid from the Japanese government to support agriculture in Cambodia amounted to about US$10 million by 2008, and the total amount of aid from the Japanese government from 1992 to 2009 was US$1.8 billion.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #461, 24.4.2010

  • In 2010, More Than 64 Million People Live Under the Poverty Line, Encountering the Global Economic Crisis [according to the World Bank]

Note:

We were not able to verify these numbers, but share instead the following information, also based on World Bank data:

Poverty Around The World

by Anup Shah (This Page Was Last Updated Monday, 1 March 2010)

At a poverty line of $1.25 a day, the revised estimates find:

  • 1.4 billion people live at this poverty line or below.
  • This is more than the previous estimate of 984 million with the older measure of a $1 a day in 2004.
  • In 1981, the estimated number of poor was also revised upward, from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion.

The World Bank notes that “the incidence of poverty in the world is higher than past estimates have suggested. The main reason is that [previous data] had implicitly underestimated the cost of living in most developing countries.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2231, 24.4.2010

  • [Fifty eight] Non-Government Organizations and Associations Condemn the Intention [of some Thai extremists] to Remove Border Posts
  • A School Building Was Destroyed by a Tropical Storm, and a Lightning Killed a Person in Ek Phnom District [Battambang]
  • Within One Month [from 23 March to 23 April 2010], Thirteen People Were Killed and Forty Others Were Injured by traffic accidents in Phnom Penh

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6938, 24.4.2010

  • Some Countries [England, France, and Australia] Alert Their Citizens in Thailand to Stay Away from Bangkok [as violence might break out]

Note:

While finalizing this edition of The Mirror, there is a constant streem of news coming in from Bangkok over the Internet:

Late in the evening, some of the red-shirt leaders called on their followers to take off their red shirts (so that they cannot be identified by the authorities) and mix into the population as guerrilla, and “to finish the whole game” before the Thai King will speak on 26 April at 17:00 to 101 newly appointed judges – an event which had been announced today, for the first public statement of the King.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3862, 24-25.4.2010

  • The Eviction of Citizens and Land Disputes Lead to Food Insecurity and Poverty – the European Union Announced Food Aid [of US$2.6 million for Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

  • Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia
  • [Prek Kompeus] Commune Chief and Residents Appeal to the Public, Describing their Land Dispute with the Heng Development Company [Kandal]
  • [Takeyama Osamu – 竹山修] The Mayor of Sakai City [堺市市長] and His Delegation Comes from Japan to Study Tourism in Cambodia [very informative website Sakai City: For Foreign Residents and Visitors (in English, Chinese, and Korean)
  • A Tropical Storm Caused 17 Houses to Collapse and Inured Two People in Siem Reap

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

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The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter – Thursday, 22.4.2010

Posted on 23 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced strict anti-terrorism policies, as terrorism is not only a problem of Cambodia but of the whole world. The head of the Royal Government considers terrorism as the cruelest specter that must be eradicated.

“During the inauguration in the morning of 21 April 2010, of the secretariat of the National Counterterrorism Committee which cost more than US$1.6 million and took nearly one year to construct, at a military airbase, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said that terrorism is a global issue that must be suppressed so that it does not cause instability for people and for whole societies.

“He said, ‘Our war on terrorism is part of the current global war on terrorism, and even though Cambodia is not a target of terrorist attacks, we must not miss to see any possible situation. If we are apathetic or careless, the country might become a safe shelter for terrorists.’

“It should be noted that the National Counterterrorism Committee is headed by the Prime Minister, and Mr. Om Yentieng is the deputy head who leads the forces of the unit by cooperating with other mixed forces to crack down on possible terrorism in Cambodia, as terrorists might take Cambodia as a basis to hide themselves and to attack other governments, or to commit illegal activities like human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“Samdech Hun Sen stressed, ‘The Royal Government of Cambodia regards terrorism as the most brutal crime in human history, as it can destroy social and political stability and cost human lives among people of all races and of every age group, and it can occur at any place in any region and any country and on the international and intercontinental levels.’

“Also, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia mentioned the strategies for the eradication of terrorism which he had developed himself, to achieve a successful crackdown on possible terrorism in three steps. Nevertheless, the head of the Royal Government said that though special anti-terrorism forces have been created, there must be cooperation with other forces, such as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the police, the military police, as well as with the citizens.

“Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that it is essential to be ready to fight terrorism in order to guarantee the safety for one’s own people as well as for people of other countries.

“It should be remembered that Cambodia and its partner countries had cooperated to arrest a notorious terrorist, Hambali, who was behind the attack on Bali in Indonesia that killed hundreds of people.

“Also, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, General Dr. Hun Manet, is the commander of the special forces and the head of the Anti-Terrorism Department of the National Counterterrorism Committee.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter
  • A Dutch Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Three Boys [Sihanoukville]
  • Cambodia Prepares to Send a Delegation to East Timor to Study the Potential for Rice Export [according to a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the East Timor President, Mr. José Ramos-Horta – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2228-2229, 21-22.4.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Extremists Plan to Uproot Border Posts on 2 and 3 May 2010 [at the Ta Moan Touch Temple]
  • The Maternal Mortality Rate in Cambodia Drops [according to The Lancet magazine, there were 266 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, while the national census of Cambodia had reported as many as 461 maternal deaths in 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6936, 22.4.2010

  • Last Year a Woman Was Killed by a Lightning, and This Year Her Husband Was Shot Dead, Leaving Six Daughters as Orphans [perpetrator is not yet identified – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3860, 22.4.2010

  • The Reform of Democracy Does Not Only Depend on Words, but the Government Must Show Real Political Will [said the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Do Not Trust [Cambodian People’s Party Senator] Oknha Ly Yong Phat Who Promised Again and Again to Solve Land Disputes with the Amleang Commune Residents

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 22.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Says the Kingdom Is Ready to Fight Terror
  • Smoke from the Eruption of a Volcano in Europe [in Iceland] Affects Tourism in Cambodia [the bookings of hotel rooms and the time of staying in Cambodia have been reduced by 10% to 15%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5178, 22.4.2010

  • 207 Cases of Forestry Crimes Were Sent to the Courts [more than 5,000 cubic meter of woods have been confiscated]
  • Another Person in Cambodia Dies from Bird Flue [H5N1], in Prey Veng
  • An Elephant Protection Ranger from Cambodia [Mr. Tuy Sereivathana] Wins the Golden Environmental Prize for 2010 and Receives More Than US$100,000 [from the Goldman Environmental Foundation for his efforts to help protect Asian elephants from being slaughtered by humans and for helping to teach farmers to prevent elephants from destroying their crops]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics – Wednesday, 21.4.2010

Posted on 22 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The United States of America launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics with US$16.2 million to promote accountability and transparency in the Cambodian government.

“The program was launched on 20 April 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, and it was chaired by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol A. Rodley.

“The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] developed this Accountability in Governance and Politics 5-year program, aimed at assisting Cambodia by encouraging the government to be responsible for implementing their policies through: 1. Strengthening of accountability, transparency, and broad access to information; 2. Creation of modern leadership; and 3. Support for the electoral systems.

This program will provide US$7.2 million to the International Republican Institute from 2009 to 2014, concentrating on consolidating the capacity of civil servants and of officials of political parties through the analysis of public surveys and through the creation of effective strategies for decision making.

“This program also offers US$6.08 million to the National Democratic Institute for increasing transparency over decisions of the government, and for further strengthening the access to public information about policy formation.

“The program also provides US$2.29 million to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to strengthen the understanding of politics and the participation by women in government positions.

“Ms. Carol A. Rodley said that democracy in Cambodia is young, but it has progressed much since the first elections in 1993. She added that the United States of America hopes to cooperate with related institutions of the government, with civil society, and with all political parties to strengthen democracy in Cambodia. She went on to say, ‘I am exited about the extensive consolidation of skills and of experiences that these organizations have contributed to Cambodia, with which they can implement the projects at their areas. I believe that we will see positive results within five years.’

“On the same occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An highly assessed USAID for initiating and for funding this crucial program, and he hopes that it will contribute to promote the understanding and the participation of citizens in creating and implementing various policies that are more accountable and more transparent, so as to lead to a broader implementation of democracy in Cambodia.

“He added that the projects to be implemented are also consistent with the political program of the Royal Government that is encouraging the participation from all circles in the process to establish policies, in project organization, and in different decisions made by the Royal Government through consultations to ensure a balanced progress in Cambodia. The Royal Government clearly stated that civil society and non-government organizations are important partners for economic and social development, as well as for the strengthening of democracy and the respect for human rights in Cambodia.

“He hopes that these projects will be implemented equally and faithfully by the three organizations, according to their goals, in order to join with the Royal Government to strengthen democracy, development, and the implementation of polices to further develop the economy and the society.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #458, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank [ADB] Predicted that the Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.5% in 2010 and by 6% in 2011 [if the global economic growth is in line with the forecast of the ADB, and if the climate is favorable for agricultural cultivation in Cambodia]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Lead a Delegation to Attend the Inauguration of the Expo 2010 Shanghai [in China on 29 April 2010]
  • The Number of People Killed by an Earthquake in China [in the northwest] Rose to 2,000

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 21.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Issued a Warrant to Bring Mr. Sam Rainsy to the Court [for a hearing, not for arrest] over an Accusation that He Faked Public Maps
  • A Fierce Lightning Storm Killed Six People during a Rain in the Early Visakh Lunar Month in Bakan District [Pursat – the Visakh month is the second month in the traditional lunar calendar, in 2010 extending from the end of March to the end of April]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3859, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Found that the Rate of Poor Khmer Citizens Strongly Increased in Rural Areas

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.154, #1, 21.4.2010

  • Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Lacks behind Its Neighboring Countries in the Garment Sector and in Tourism
  • [The Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Published a Book Praising [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Politics [“The Strategy of Putting the Fire of War in Cambodia to an End” – ហេង​ពៅ “យុទ្ធសាស្ត្ររំលត់ភ្លើងសង្គ្រាម​នៅ​កម្ពុជា”]
  • The Land Dispute in Amleang Commune Is Still Hot as There Is Still No Solution [about 500 villagers continue to protest against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company encroaching on what they claim is their land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

  • The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics
  • [Twenty seven] Foreign Journalists from the time of the War between 1970 and 1975 Arrived in Cambodia Again [for a reunion, and they were welcomed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Welcomes the Former Head of State of Vietnam [Mr. Trần Đức Lương (Tran Duc Luong} during his visit to Cambodia to strengthen the ties and good cooperation between both countries]

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In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues – Tuesday, 20.4.2010

Posted on 21 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: Telecom Cambodia held a meeting on 19 April 2010 to reflect on the work in 2009 and to set its goals for 2010, chaired by Mr. Lao Saroeun, a delegate of the Royal Government as the Director General of Telecom Cambodia, and by Mr. Koy Pum, an Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication.

“Mr. Lao Saroeun said that in 2010, Telecom Cambodia encouraged efforts to collect more income, following the circulars and recommendations from different leaders. He advised the telecommunication personnel that efficiency and success result from building up trust from clients. Therefore, they must be able to maintain clients, and must think of setting up more access faciliies and network services to serve the clients.

“Mr. Koy Pum said that Telecom Cambodia is a public institution of the Royal Government of Cambodia. It is responsible for developing telecommunication and information technology, and it is actively extending telecommunication infrastructure, especially the backbone network of telecommunication, and extending the network for clients in cities and in rural areas, to respond to VGN System applications [see Note 1: further down] in the future so as to catch up with the advancement of Communication and Information Technology of the world, and particularly to meet the obvious demands of clients.

“He added that in 2009, with the agreement by the Board of Directors, Telecom Cambodia accomplished several noticeable achievements in constructing telecommunication infrastructure, expanding networks, and providing new services in response to demands. As a result, the number of clients increased steadily. In the meantime, Telecom Cambodia is facing strong competition from other operators that provide similar services, including phone networks and the Internet. This caused Telecom Cambodia to try harder to overcome all challenges and to receive positive results, as seen today.

“He said that these results cannot be seen separate from the efforts of the leaders on all levels and of the employees of Telecom Cambodia who have worked hard. Also, to accomplish new successes in 2010, an important year for telecommunication developments among strong competition, Telecom Cambodia has to define a clear vision and goals, to achieve defined results, based on proper management and monitoring mechanisms, so that the operations of Telecom Cambodia can achieve success.

“The Undersecretary of State added that besides the effects from the global economic crisis, Telecom Cambodia also faces other challenges, such as sturdy competition from other local and international telecommunication operators, difficulties in collecting payments, the limitation of services provided to clients, a lack of qualified human resources, and especially the drop of international telecommunication income from the 001 gateway.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

Note 1:

VGN Systems – Voice Gender Normalization Systems

“Traditionally the interest in voice gender conversion was of a more theoretical nature rather than founded in real-life applications. However, with the increase in mobile communication and the resulting limitation in transmission bandwidth, new approaches to minimizing data rates have to be developed. Here Voice Gender Normalization (VGN) presents an efficient method of achieving higher compression rates by using the VGN algorithm to remove gender specific components of a speech signal, and thus enhancing the information content to be transmitted.

“A second application for VGN is in the field of speech controlled systems, where current speech recognition algorithms have to deal with the voice characteristics of a speaker as well as the information content. Here again the use of VGN can remove the speaker’s voice gender characteristics and thus enhance the message contents.”

Note 2:

It is interesting that such a specific, fairly new field as VGN is mentioned here, but it is surprising that the efforts to introduce economic control by Telecom Cambodia over other Internet Service Providers, by trying to introduce a single, mandatory Internet Exchange Point and a monopoly for the purchase of international connectivity, and even the possibility of Internet content control (as had been reported also in The Mirror) is not mentioned here; related considerations date back into 2009, though the controversy became publicly discussed mainly in 2010. These plans were finally given up, after they had met with much opposition in the business community.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #457, 20.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Summons [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy to Appear Today [over a complaint of the government accusing him of faking maps and disinformation. – He is abroad; normally he sends a lawyer to represent him]
  • The Naga Casino Was Accused of Illegally Dismissing 41 Staff [they were dismissed with immediate effect without being informed in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2227, 20.4.2010

  • The Thomson Reuters Foundation [“Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity in Britain and the United States”] Has Not Responded to a Cambodian Request [to correct the size of Cambodia on a table from 176,520 square kilometers to the official size of Cambodia of 181,035 square kilometers]
  • The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Will Make an Official Visit to Cambodia [from 25 to 28 April 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

  • In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues
  • The European Union Grants US$1.6 Million for Human Rights and Democracy Work in Cambodia
  • The United Nations Calls On Donors to Provide the Funds That They Promised for Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3885, 20.4.2010

  • The Head of the Department of Labor of Mondolkiri [Mr. Noy Sron] Recruits His Son as the Deputy Head

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.153, #1, 20.4.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Investigate Government Officials [who are said to have been involved in killing Khmer citizens, and bring the suspects to the Tribunal according to the law]
  • Thai Troops Withdrew from the Chak Chreng Area [after staying there for three days; there were negotiations between army commanders of both countries]
  • Amleang Commune Residents Blocked Road 52 to Protest [against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company that continues to clear the land and blocked the way to their rice fields – Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5176, 20.4.2010

  • Thirty Five Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found in the Five Star Eva Hotel in Siem Reap [the owner of the wood had reported this to the authorities; no more information is given]
  • Police Cracked Down on a Big Group of Armed Robbers That Had Committed 20 Robberies [arresting seven people – 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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