Week 559

Week 559 – 2008-05-11: “Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done”

Posted on 12 May 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

The past week has presented the reading public again with many references to legal affairs, to the rule of law. A closer look at the different references reveals that there exist quite different conceptions as to the question what this means, and and how the role of law in society leads to a society where the rule of law is established.

The general expectation connected with this concept is, of course, that the rule of law – so that government and other decisions are made according to written law and its rules – helps to uphold public order, because he rules are applied consistently to all, the law enforcement agencies guarantee that life in society will be kept orderly and predictable, providing the reasons for their decisions based upon the law to the public. And if a law is violated, the police and the courts will take care of such cases.

Obviously, this does not always work well. The many direct appeals to the Prime Minister – for example – by people in the provinces who feel that their land rights have been violated, and they cannot find assistance by the organs of the state on the local level and therefore come to Phnom Penh – are not only a sign of confidence in the Prime Minister, that such actions will help them to achieve justice. They are also a sign of a lack of trust in the functioning of the legal system, unless a stronger authority intervenes from above.

The reported announcement of the Prime Minister, “ If Any Transportation Company Overloads and It Has Been Fined Twice, Its License Will Be Canceled,” confirms in a way indirectly that the normal procedure of fining does not work well in cases of overloaded trucks. Would the punishment be severe and expensive, a company would not run the risk of being fined a second time. And would the law – and its enforcement – lead to an even higher fine for second or third time violators, no special action by the Prime Minister would be necessary to cancel the licenses of the violators. Effective standard laws and their timely and strict enforcement would take care of problems created by overloaded trucks. This is in the spirit of Article 130 of the Constitution: “Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.” Once a law is established, it is not expected that the executive intervenes again; law enforcement should take care of it effectively.

These general assumptions are, unfortunately, at present not easily accepted by the public as being valid.

During the present week, calls were made to let the courts do their work, in relation to two cases needing solutions – and in both cases there is the possibility that their timely solution might have some consequence for the forthcoming National Elections in July.

One is the controversy around the sale of the former headquarters of Funcinpec and the role of Prince Ranariddh, who is at present abroad, exactly because this pending legal case. Even the US ambassador is reported to have called for a clarification by Prince Ranariddh returning and by court action, well before the National Elections in July. To actively participate in the election campaign would require to be back in the country and to have the allegations of illegal actions moved out of the way.

The other controversy relates to the court case of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was head of the prisoners’ committee in the Boeng Trabek camp for Cambodians returning from abroad to the country during the early stages of the Khmer Rouge government, against the president of the Sam Rainsy Party. Both sides are said to be calling for witnesses who are at present detained by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC], the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

It is even reported that the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison – Kang Kek Iew, also known as Duch – will be summoned as a witness on 16 May 2008, and also, that Mr. Sam Rainsy hopes that Duch will put the blame on Mr. Hor Namhong for having sent prisoners from the Boeng Trabek camp to be killed at the Tuol Sleng prison. The former King was not successful in a similar court case some years ago at a French court – so there is public interest to see to which result the Cambodian court will come.

One newspaper comment is, however, surprising in its expectation and argumentation, that Mr. Sam Rainsy will definitely loose the case, when it says that it cannot be expected that Duch would act to be Mr. Sam Rainsy’s witness, because it would be “useless for Duch to engage himself” while he himself is facing serious charges. Such an opinion seems to assume that witnesses in court think first of all if it is “useful for them” what they say, and not just to contribute to finding the truth.

That the ECCC will be able to provide justice for the countless victims of the Khmer Rouge regime is difficult to imagine, but there is still the hope that the Khmer Rouge trial will help to find out more about the painful historical truth. Even this hope is made subject to doubt by such an opinion, that statements to the court may be made more in terms of what is “useful” for those who speak – and not first of all whether or not it is true.

An opinion related to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, expressed the expectation, in the Cambodia Daily of 7 My 2008, that the court should provide more access to information, pointing to a fundamentally important aspect of social satisfaction with the rule of law: “Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.”

Law enforcement and its transparent implementation for the public needs to be further developed.

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Saturday, 10.5.2008: Sam Rainsy Uses Duch as Witness against Mr. Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit; Mr. Hor Namhong Also Has a Detained Khmer Rouge Leader as His Witness

Posted on 11 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“The case between Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, and opposition party president Mr. Sam Rainsy, seems to get tougher and tougher, and it probably cannot be ended easily. Observers and analysts have seen that Sam Rainsy’s stubbornness and arrogance are the cause that has made Mr. Hor Namhong’s lawsuit to be more and more serious – i.e. Mr. Sam Rainsy is likely not to be able to escape from the law which is going to be enforced.

During his recent visit abroad, Mr. Sam Rainsy told Khmers in Canada that he has a witness to defend him against Mr. Hor Namhong’s lawsuit, and that the lawsuit must be pushed to be dealt with appropriately by the Khmer Rouge tribunal, because it relates to Khmer Rouge leaders (according to Sam Rainsy’s speech, broadcast by Radio Free Asia). In the speech addressed to Khmers in Canada, Mr. Sam Rainsy specified the witness’s name without hiding anything: that he and his defense lawyer had met Duch (the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav during the Khmer Rouge regime), to ask Duch to testify whether there were prisoners from the Boeng Trabek prison taken to be killed at Tuol Sleng or not, and who ordered such transfers. This means, Mr. Sam Rainy hopes that Duch will surely put the blame on Mr. Hor Namhong, showing that he sent prisoners from Boeng Trabek prison to be killed at the S-21 [Tuol Sleng prison].

In his proud and arrogant speech, Sam Rainsy continued to argue that taking Duch as a witness is also beneficial to restore the reputation of Samdech Euv who once lost against Hor Namhong in the same case [at a court in France] as Sam Rainsy’s.

As for Mr. Hor Namhong, he also told reporters recently that he has a senior Khmer Rouge leader who is in detention, and who knows that he was also a prisoner, and he had to be prepared to be taken to be killed at the Tuol Sleng prison. Regarding the senior Khmer Rouge leader who is in detention, observers assume that it is either Mr. Ieng Sary or Mr. Khiev Samphan, although he did not mention who it is. But Mr. Ieng Sary, who was the leader of the movement of convincing students, scholars, and officials abroad to return home to the country, is likely to know a person who knows more about Mr. Hor Namhong’s story and can also become a witness for Mr. Hor Namhong.

Separately, observers think that Mr. Sam Rainsy’s hope is a hope for the stars in the sky, because Duch, whom Mr. Sam Rainsy hopes to get as his witness, is unlikely to accept Mr. Sam Rainsy’s request, since he faces at present already serious charges by the Khmer Rouge tribunal, so it is useless for Duch to engage himself to be Sam Rainsy’s witness. However, the analysts believe that Mr. Sam Rainsy will definitely loose the case, because in this case, Samdech Euv was not in a worse situation than Mr. Sam Rainsy in finding witnesses. But he could not find any witness. Facing this big lawsuit is not a small thing like Mr. Sam Rainsy said; it is a big misunderstanding, and Mr. Sam Rainsy cannot use any political reason to hide his wrongdoing [in making this accusation], because a criminal act is something different from an election process.

If the court finds that Sam Rainsy is really guilty, it will implement the laws against Mr. Sam Rainsy by fining him with money, or by putting him in jail from three months to three years. But this will not affect the candidacy of the Sam Rainsy Party in the elections; the Sam Rainsy Party can appoint anyone, like [Sam Rainsy Party officials] Eng Chhay Eang, or Tioulong Saumura, or Son Chhay as prime ministerial candidates to replace Sam Rainsy in case Sam Rainy is imprisoned or if he covers himself with soap [to be slippery and difficult to catch] to run away from the country, like he used to flee at other situations previously.” Rasmei Angkor, Vol.11, #1310, 10.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 May 2008

Angkor Kampuchea, Vol.2, #13, 8-15.5.2008

  • Pornographic Videos in Poipet Increase like Mushrooms Getting Rain

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1637, 10.5.2008

  • Some [unnamed] NGOs Asked [the Cambodian People’s Party through an appeal on 8 May 2008] for Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh to Return to the Country
  • USAID in Cambodia Supports Cambodia’s Plan to Create a National Job Information Agency
  • Lightning Killed a Man and Storm Destroyed 44 Houses in S’ang District [on 8 May 2008 – Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #151, 10.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Coal-Fueled Power Plant Should Have Been Put for Bidding Openly before the Agreement Was Made
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: Cambodia Is a Country Which Is Controlled by Criminals and Mafia Businesspeople [this article is printed with portraits of Ing Bun Hoaw, director of AZ Company; Mong Reththy, director of Mong Reththy Group; Cheung Sopheap, director of Pheapimex Fu Chan; Kith Meng, director-general of Mobitel, Ly Yong Phat, oknha and senator of the Cambodian People’s Party; Sok Kong. director of the Sokimex company; and Suy Sophan, director of the Phanimex company]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Defectors to the Cambodian People’s Party Commit Their Own Political Suicide

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6341, 10-11.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor’s [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] Measure: If Any Transportation Company Overloads and It Has Been Fined Twice, Its License Will Be Canceled

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3456, 10-11.5.2008

  • There Is Criticism from Everywhere Saying that Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit [against Sam Rainsy] Is for Political Interest

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.11, #1310, 10.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Uses Duch as Witness against Mr. Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit; Mr. Hor Namhong Also Has a Detained Khmer Rouge Leader as His Witness

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4585, 10.5.2008

  • Cambodia Prints New 20,000-Riel Notes [with portrait of King Norodom Sihamoni] to Welcome the King’s Birthday
  • Khmer Land but [has been used for farming by Thais, but] Thai Rice Fields to Be Given Back to Cambodia [Banteay Meanchey]
  • [former Khmer Rouge S-21 prison chief] Duch Will Be Summoned as a Witness in Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit against Sam Rainsy on 16 May 2008

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3306, 10.5.2008

  • Cambodia Signs Agreement [with World Bank] for Aid of US$11 Million for the Implementation of a National Plan to Prevent Bird Flu

Have a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press empowers the people to control their own lives

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Friday, 9.5.2008: In 2010, Electricity Fees Will Be Reduced to Riel 250

Posted on 9 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“Phnom Penh: On 8 May, the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia was called into session again after a short vacation, to discuss and adopt the draft law on an agreement that the royal government of the Kingdom of Cambodia guarantees payment to the Power Synergy Company, which plans to build a coal-fueled power plant in Sihanoukville.

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Mr. Son Chhay stated that the construction of a coal-fueled power plant in Sihanoukville will affect the environment at the seaside a lot. Therefore, appropriate technology is required in order that it will not affect tourism.

“Mr. Yim Sovann, who is also an opposition party parliamentarian, said that he is very pleased with the creation of this law on electricity to serve the citizens’ interest. However previous plans to buy electricity form neighboring countries, such as from Thailand and Vietnam, has not yet led to a decrease in the fees, which in some places range between Riel 850 [approx. US$0.20] to Riel 4,000 [approx. US$1].

“He continued that the contract between this company and the royal government is not clear in this respect, which states a decreased fee of US$0.064 (or Riel 250). Mr. Yim Sovann stressed that if the US$0.064 or Riel 250 is the fee that the citizens have to pay, it is satisfactory information, but if it is the fee that the state has to pay, then the electricity fee is still high.

“The Funcinpec parliamentarian Mr. Monh Saphan also said that he wants to see the contract first, because he does not yet know how much responsibility the government takes on. Moreover, he wants the power plant to use many Khmer laborers so that Khmer citizens get jobs.

“The Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian Mr. Cheam Yeap said that electricity is very necessary, we cannot do without it. In ancient times, people could use candles or oil lamps, but in our era of modern technology, people cannot work with a lack of electricity.

“He went on to say that on behalf of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, he has checked carefully with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Industry to know the advantages of signing this contract between the royal government and foreigners; we cannot act carelessly. The company that builds the coal-fueled power plant is a joint Khmer-Malaysian company.

“In a speech it was said that to implement a policy to encourage national economic development and the citizens’ poverty alleviation, the royal government tries to develop in all sectors, where also the development of electricity is important. The royal government has authorized continuous related developments, such as the Kirirom Hydro-Electric Plant I, the Kirirom Hydro-Electric Plant II, the Kamchay Hydro-Electric Plant, the Stung Atay Hydro-Electric Plan, and another project is being negotiated. Through such developments, the price of electricity will be reduced to US$0.064 or Riel 250 per kilowatt/hour in 2010 and 2012.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1636, 9.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 May 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2776, 9.5.2008

  • US Ambassador: Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Should Return to the Country…!

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #95, 9.5.2008

  • [Human Rights Party president] Mr. Kem Sokha: the Human Rights Party’s Goal Is to Defeat the Cambodian People’s Party in the July Elections
  • Kampuchea Krom Khmers Recall [59th] Anniversary when France Cut Their Land to Give It to Yuon [Vietnam] on 4 June [1949]; VCD Film of Khmer Kampuchea Krom History “Eliminated without Bleeding” Had Been Finished, Shown at the United Nations, and Distributed to Khmer Krom Associations

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1636, 9.5.2008

  • In 2010, Electricity Fees Will Be Reduced to Riel 250
  • Cambodia Prepares to Open Stock Exchange in 2009
  • Hydro-Electric Stung Atay River Power Station Construction Site Opened [on 8 May 2008] to Supply Electricity to Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Pursat
  • A Wood Merchant Ordered Workers to Hit [two] Chiefs of Thma Kreae Forestry Administration Office [in an argument over wood transportation] until They Almost Died [5 April 2008 – Kratie]
  • In Soklida, Former TV3 [Phnom Penh Municipal TV Station] Presenter, Goes Missing from a General’s House, Her Aunt Was Wounded by an Acid Attack [on 8 May – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • US and British Joint Program [“Evidence to Action Partnership for Health”] to Promote Cambodian People’s Health
  • Number of Deaths in Tropical Cyclone in Burma Increases Up to More Than 100,000

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #150, 9.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party secretary-general] Eng Chhay Eang: Sam Rainsy Party Doesn’t Care about Anti-Media Attack by the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Even US Supports Cambodia over Preah Vihear Temple

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6340, 9.5.2008

  • COMFREL [the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia] Produces Brochures Instructing the Voters

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3455, 9.5.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Criticized the Provision of Land Concessions to Yuon [Vietnamese] Companies that Seriously Affects Khmer Territory
  • In the Next Term Government, if the Cambodian People’s Party Continues to Hold Power, the Funds of the State Will Feed Only Its Partisan Officials

Have a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press empowers the people to control their own lives

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Thursday, 8.5.2008: Hun Sen Has Sold 45% of Khmer Islands, Sea, and Land

Posted on 9 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“In its publication on 26 April 2008, The Guardian, in the article, ‘Cambodia, a Country for Sale,’ says that Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] government have sold approximately 45% of land in Cambodia; and, calls this sales ‘The Sale of the Millennium.’

“Two journalists of The Guardian – Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark – reported about the sale of Cambodian land by Hun Sen and the CPP government. The names of millionaires and local officials of the CPP, who are Mr. Hun Sen’s friends, or people close to him, and international millionaire investors are also mentioned in detail, related to the buying and selling of land in Cambodia, including the sale of islands and the sea.

“People who were the owners of the land and the houses have been evicted from their land, and the armed forces of the government, whose obligation it is to serve the nation and the people, are used by opportunistic businesspeople as tools of suppression, acting in a way which the newspaper describes, according to the words of a human rights activist, as cruel methods of the past. A human rights activist, the director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Ms. Naly Pilorge commented to the newspaper, describing the situation, ‘Extreme violence, greed and disregard for the most basic human rights .’

“Ms. Naly Pilorge said, ‘The methods of the past are being used to dictate our future .’

“In 2006, a French national, Arnaud Darc, heard about plans of the Hun Sen and CPP government [to extend the airport runway in Sihanoukville], and brought a French millionaire, Jean-Louis Charon, a very rich person from Paris, to buy two big plots of coastal land of more than 220 hectares.

“A spokesperson of the Sihanoukville governor Say Hak’s cabinet told the newspaper that the price of this land, which the City Star Company had bought, had increased four times, when the Cambodian government confirmed the rumor about the extension of he Sihanoukville airport.

“Real estate agents from Europe came to buy land at the seaside, islands, and the sea, preparing to sell it after making a big profit after seven or ten years.

“The company of the French national Arnaud Darc continued to buy 333 hectares of land – the Koh Russey and Koh Ta Kiev islands off the Ream beach. A real estate company from Hong Kong, Lime Tree Capital, bought coastal land near the Ream beach, and plans to keep it unused for many years, to sell it with profit when the prices of land go up.

“An Australian couple, the businesspeople Rory and Mel Hunter, had signed a contract to buy Koh Bong and Koh Ouen islands with a dream to develop these two islands. But the British national Marty Kaye, who operates the Millennium Property Fund, snapped it away from them as he wanted to buy the land next to the island of Koh Rong, which is near to those two islands.

“Marty Kaye said that Cambodia is very favorable place for doing business ‘Nowhere else in the world could you create your own kingdom from scratch – here it is quite different from the island of Ko Samui in Thailand.

“This foreign businessman said that when Hun Sen and the CPP government signed the contract, the Cambodian government did not mention anything about how many Khmer people were living there, where they will have to live, and what kind of compensation would have to be paid to the people.

“Marty Kaye has close relations with Oknha Kit Meng, a big businessman in Cambodia, also with interests in real estate, and a very close friend of Hun Sen.

“Another French real estate businessman, Alain Dupuis, bought Koh Sramaoch this spring. A Chinese businessman bought Koh Tonsay, located opposite Kep.

“Fearing that foreign businesspeople will buy all land, the governor of Sihanoukville, Say Hak, also bought a small island and built a luxury villa on it.

“Moreover, not to be left behind Say Hak, the Sihanoukville deputy governor Sbaung Sarath, also a person of Hun Sen’s CPP, bought half of the public Independence Beach in Sihanoukville in February 2008, evicting hundreds of families who were the owners of the land and the houses.

“A few days later, Sbanung Sarath bought also a part of the Ou Tres beach. Another part of the Ou Tresb Beach of 56 hectares is owned by [the casino company] Queenco, registered in London.

“The Ukrainian businessman Nickolai Doroshenko, who is also close to Hun Sen and the CPP government, bought the Victory beach in Sihanoukville.

“Oknha Sok Kong, who always shares benefits with the CPP leaders, bought Ou Chheu Teal beach at the end of January, which used to be the biggest and the most popular public recreation site in the area.

“The director of Global Witness, Mr. Simon Taylor, who had collected information and published it in a book accusing Hun Sen’s CPP of destroying the forests of Cambodia, was quoted by The Guardian.

“He compared Cambodia today, under Hun Sen and CPP, to a ‘shadow state, a government that misappropriates public assets, extorts from businesses and manages an extensive illicit economy. It is administered by senior ministers who are fluent in the jargon of good governance and sustainable development.’” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3304, 8.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 May 2008

Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #31, 8-14.5.2008

  • Inflation Is Threatening Action against Poverty
  • ASEAN Plans Fund of US$80 Billion to Prevent [financial] Crisis

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #94, 8.5.2008

  • Human Rights Party Gains Supports from Foreign Embassies [from European Community and ASEAN; Human Rights Party officials met with the German ambassador]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1635, 8.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party secretary-general] Eng Chhay Ieng Denies Plan to Boycott the Elections

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6339, 8.5.2008

  • Cambodian Government Provides Aid of US$50,000 to Burma; Deaths Increase up to 22,000, and 40,000 Go Missing [from tropical cyclone]
  • Let the Court Deal with the Lawsuit against Mr. Sam Rainsy; Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Hor Namhong: I Was a Prisoner of Boeng Trabaek Prison

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #149, 8.5.2008

  • Hor Namhong Will Not Withdraw Lawsuit against Sam Rainsy
  • [Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president] Rong Chhun and [Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia president] Chea Mony Said Opposition Parties Will Get Many Votes in the Elections
  • There Is Big Scale Logging in Siem Reap under the Pretension of Land Concessions from the Government

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3454, 8.5.2008

  • Government Spokesperson [Khieu Kanharith] Asserted that if the Cambodian People’s Party Looses the Elections, It Will Become a Strong Opposition Party so that Others Will Be Frightened
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Promises that When He Wins the Elections to Lead a Government, He Will Confiscate Land from Yuon [Vietnamese] Companies and from Corrupt Officials and Oknhas and Give It to Citizens

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4583, 8.5.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Marched in Battambang without Intervention from the Government [on 7 May 2008 – this is considered to be a campaign which violates the elections law]
  • Phanimex Company Takes Legal Action to Cancel the Contract [of land at Borei Keyla] Worth US$27 Million [with a Korean company – Phanimex has won the case, but the Korean company appeals
    against the court’s decision]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3304, 8.5.2008

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Has Sold 45% of Khmer Islands, Seas, and Land [according to The Guardian, UK]
  • Hor Namhong Acknowledges that He Was the Chief of the Prisoners’ Committee

Have a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press empowers the people to control their own lives

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Wednesday, 7.5.2008: Khmer Children Need a User Friendly Khmer Dictionary

Posted on 8 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“Khmer Literature Represents Khmer National Identity”

“Phnom Penh: During the celebration of Culture Day every year, we always see many banners written in big letters stating that Khmer literature represents the Khmer national identity; in fact, Khmer literature shows disagreements, although there is some progress.

“Khmer children would like the relevant institutions to create a general Khmer dictionary or an encyclopedia which is user friendly, in order to strengthen and preserve Khmer literature to become more easy to comprehend.

“Tep Piseth, 25, has graduated and worked in an organization. He stated that there seems to be not yet a general agreement about the use of Khmer orthography. The knowledge that he gained from school and from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports is different from that at work, which required to use a Khmer dictionary. When using a Khmer dictionary, he could not find some words, therefore he would like to have a dictionary or an encyclopedia like they are available in other countries that respond to such needs.

“Veng Van, 54, a man who loves Khmer literature, told Khmer Sthapana on 4 May 2008 that the use of Khmer writing seems still to be controversial – there are two groups – the conservatives and the modernizers. Some adhere to the words in the Khmer dictionary created by [the late Supreme Patriarch] Chuon Nat, while some adhere to [the linguist scholar] Keng Vansak’s group, or some use words of their individual creation.

“The president of the Association for Supporting Khmer Literature and Culture Mr. Rey Sreang said that this association was created with the goal to promote the value of the national culture and literature, to preserve and develop them, and to reach an agreement for the correct use of the national literature. He thinks that national literature declined because of changes in existing words, different from their origin, and because of disagreements about the use of words.

“Mr. Rey Sreang, who also used to be a Buddhist monk, added that both volumes of the [Chuon Nat] Khmer dictionary, contain more than 18,000 entries, but they cannot meet the needs of present day use, so new words had to be created in line with the requirements of modern times; however, they too have to be based, for their origin and their root, on correct linguistic rules.

“He continued, ‘If the culture is lost, the nation will dissolve, and if the culture is brilliant, the nation will be prosperous; Khmer literature represents the Khmer national identity and it is the core of the nation, and the Buddhist discipline is the core of Buddhism.’ Therefore, in order to promote the rules of Khmer literature, all of us, as the cell of society and of the national language, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and the Royal Academy of Cambodia – all have to participate.

“Mr. Rey Sreang and many other students support for the creation of an encyclopedia that can be used in general, because the traditional Khmer dictionaries lacks many words, and the spellings of Khmer words have also many mistakes.

“A circular about the spellings in official letters, Letter Number 3, dated 19 July 2006, signed by the Senior Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports Dr. Kol Pheng, stated that the Ministry had found that some offices, departments, town and provincial Departments of Education, Youth, and Sport, as well as private and public educational institutions, still do not correctly use the orthography according to the set principles.

“Dr. Kol Pheng stated that to participate in preserving and developing the national language correctly and clearly, according to the rules, the Ministry instructs all relevant departments that from now on, all studies and textbooks at all levels – primary, secondary, and higher education – must adhere to the spellings of the Khmer dictionary of Samdech Supreme Patriarch Chuon Nat, according to the fifth edition of 1967, published by the Buddhist Institute.

“Dr. Klairong Amratisa [phonetic – can any reader help to clarify?], a famous Thai writer, said that Thai writers in the Ayutthaya Period (1350 – 1767) compared literature to bouquets from paradise; writers always used high-level words which originally came from Pali, Sanskrit, or Khmer, as they were considered as superior words in Thailand.

“Referring to this, Khmer literature used to have a rich history, and it was admired by other countries; that is why many Khmer children ask for the creation of a Khmer dictionary or an encyclopedia to respond to their present needs and to serve for further development.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #17, 7.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #93, 7.5.2008

  • The 50+1 Formula of Sam Rainsy Gives the Opportunity to Hun Sen to Be Prime Minister for All His Life
  • [Human Rights Party vice-president] Keo Remy Asks USA to Cancel Debts to Cambodia by Setting Democracy as a Condition

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1634, 7.5.2008

  • Tropical Cyclone Nargis Kills 15,000 Burmese People and 3,000 People Go Missing
  • Burmese Soldiers Shot 36 Prisoners to Death [to suppress a rebellion during the storm – on 5 May 2008]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #578, 7.5.2008

  • Chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguards Hing Bun Heang Threatens to Start Tank Engines if Hun Sen Loses Power [according to insider news, Hing Bun Heang said in Hun Sen’s headquarters Tuol Krasaing that armed forces will be used if the Cambodian People’s Party loses elections]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #148, 7.5.2008

  • PMT Air Is Accused [by the victim families] of Intending Not to Compensate the [25 June 2007] Plane Crash Victims
  • Sam Rainsy: Businesspeople Who Buy State Property from Leaders Who Steal from the Nation Are International Thieves
  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cousin] Dy Chouch Discloses the Mystery of Forrest Crimes of [his former wife] Seng Keang and [his former younger brother-in-law] Seng Kok Heang [he said that his name has been used by the latter for illegal logging]
  • Hun Sen Calls Farmers to Do Rice Farming While Some Oknhas Have Grabbed All the Citizens’ Land

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #17, 7.5.2008

  • Khmer Children Need a User Friendly Khmer Dictionary; “Khmer Literature Is Khmer National Identity”
  • US Ambassador: Prince Norodom Ranariddh Should Face the Court to Finish the Problem [over lawsuit regarding the sale of the Funcinpec headquarters]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.11, #1309, 7.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Prepares to Boycott Elections [by referring to National Election Committee irregularities]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4582, 7.5.2008

  • US Ambassador Concerned about Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit against Sam Rainsy, that It Would Affect the Elections

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3303, 7.5.2008

  • Foreign Newspaper [The Guardian, UK, in its article titled, ‘Cambodia, a Country for Sale’]: Hun Sen of the Cambodian People’s Party Has Sold Almost Half of Cambodia


a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press

empowers the people to control their own lives

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Tuesday, 6.5.2008: Plan to Create Association of Rice Exporting Countries in Five ASEAN Countries

Posted on 7 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“In an attempt to reduce the Philippine senior officials’ worry about the creation of an association of rice exporting countries, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said that this issue is not new among the cooperating countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. A few days ago, the Thai prime minister mentioned an issue related to ASEAN and the creation of an Association of Rice Exporting Countries. Samdech Dekchor stated that the Thai Prime Minister’s initiative is not new, and it is also not anyone other’s idea but Hun Sen’s idea.

“Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that on the morning of 5 May at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, as he presided over a certificate awarding ceremony to graduates of engineering of the 21st and the 22nd intakes, of bachelor’s degrees in engineering of the 1st and the 2nd intakes, and of senior technicians of the 10th and the 11th intakes. Samdech Prime Minister added that ‘during the meeting in Bangkok in 2005, I, myself, asked the countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region to create an Association of Rice Exporting Countries, and I was immediately supported by our partners, but those people have gone and passed away – first, the former Thai Prime Minister Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra who hosted the meeting, second, the former Vietnamese Prime Minister, third, the former Lao Prime Minister, and forth, the former Myanmar Prime Minister who has passed away; that is it.’

“Regarding the statute for the association, it had been planed for a meeting since 2007, the event would be held in Hanoi, Vietnam; however, there were storms and rains which destroyed infrastructure, so Vietnam asked for a delay until February. At that time the situation in Thailand was not clear, as a government had not yet been properly created, so Vietnam shifted the planed meeting until this April after the traditional Khmer New Year.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that however, at that time, ‘I had suggested to discuss it with Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. From March until the elections [in July], I would not be able to leave my country.’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen stressed again that it is not the Thai Prime Minister’s new idea, but it was Hun Sen’s idea in 2005, which had earned support from all former prime ministers, who are by now no longer in these positions or have died, and only Hun Sen is still here. In the speech regarding this issue, Samdech Prime Minister stressed that it is not an intention to create something like OPEC [the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries], which some times is producing more oil, and sometimes it cuts the production down. We really want to contribute to guarantee food safety.

“Samdech explained that this initiative was taken because Cambodia had once accepted a request from the World Food Program to establish storehouses in Cambodia for food distribution in the region. Whenever there might be a tsunami, the World Food Program would immediately send planes to load rice from Cambodia. Thus, we want to create a system of cooperation with rice exporting countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Thailand has approximately 9 million tonnes, Vietnam has 6 million tonnes, Cambodia has 2 million tonnes, as for Myanmar and Lao, they have not yet the figures, but if we check in general in these five countries, the figure is approximately 12 to 15 million tonnes per year; this covers the world market at a pretty high level.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6337, 6.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2775, 6.5.2008

  • Four More Parliamentarians [names not yet mentioned until late May to be announced publicly] from Sam Rainsy Party Plan to Leave [for the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • KOICA [Korea International Cooperation Agency] of [South] Korea Provides Medical Supplies Worth Nearly US$40,000 to Calmette Hospital

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #92, 6.5.2008

  • Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru, director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights] Asks Government to Increase Food Allowance for Prisoners and to Provide Them Doctors

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1633, 6.5.2008

  • Many Parties Still Did Not Register at the National Election Committee
  • Fake Grass and Thatch Killers Invade and They Are Sold to Residents at Thai Border and in Battambang
  • Man, Who Raped His Sister-in-law and Then Escaped for Two Months, Secretly Returned Home and Stabbed His Wife Seven Times [because she refused to escape with him] and Then Escaped Again [5 May 2008 – Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • Vietnamese Husband and Wife Deceived a Japanese Man into Giving Them Nearly US$1 Million [they were arrested by Cambodian and Vietnamese auhorities in Cambodia and in Ho Chi Minh City on 28 March 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.51, #6337, 6.5.2008

  • Plan to Create Association of Rice Exporting Countries in Five ASEAN Countries
  • Sam Rainsy Party Everlastingly Bleeds [more officials will leave]; Alliance Game [between different parties] against Hun Sen Is Shallow Politics
  • Anti Drug Police Cracked Down on Drug Trafficking in [Teo] Hotel, Three People [a man and two women] Arrested and 4,000 Drug Tablets Seized [3 May 2008 – Svay Por, Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3452, 6.5.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls Citizens to Vote to Change Leaders in Order to Change Their Livelihood and to Get Appropriate Jobs
  • CamControl Director Mak Picharith Is Incompetent to Control Food Containing Chemical Substances

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4581, 6.5.2008

  • Husband and Wife Gold Sellers Robbed and Shot [dead] and a Package of Gold Taken [4 May 2008 – Daun Kaev, Takeo]
  • 351 People Die in Storm in Myanmar [by the time of this publication, the reports say “more than 20,000]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press empowers the people to control their own lives

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Monday, 5.5.2008: Mr. Hun Sen Said that Ly Yong Phat Has between US$300 Million to US$1 Billion

Posted on 6 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

[As some new readers may wonder why this article was selected: we mirror the realities of the press in Cambodia, trying to give a broad overview of the different voices in society – this article as an example of how the atmosphere is heating up towards the elections in July.]

Mr. Hun Sen Said that [Oknha] Ly Yong Phat [senator from the Cambodian People’s Party] Has between US$300 Million to US$1 Billion [but the following text doesn’t say anything about Mr. Ly Yong Phat]

“On Saturday 3 May 2008, at a foundation stone laying ceremony in Kompong Chhnang, Mr. Hun Sen, who is known to be strong, power addicted, and a man with an aluminum fist, insulted the Sam Rainsy Party by saying that some parties consider the rich to be their enemies.

“Indeed, when a Sam Rainsy government would rule the country after the coming elections on 27 July 2008, Mr. Sam Rainsy will implement 100 measures, especially first to take action against dishonest businesspeople and ‘rat oknhas’ [the title ‘oknha’ can be bestowed to a person who has donated at least US$100,000 to some charitable or socially relevant causes – here it is used in an intentionally derogatory way – an translation which conveys the negative feeling in this case may be something like ‘a rat baron’] who do business illegally such as illegal logging, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, running casinos illegally – particularly stealing and selling state property as they like, so that they become rich, including by the sale of high-priced big buildings belonging to the state, tens of thousands of hectares of land concessions, all kinds of minerals in the ground, and by the destruction of fish grounds, and the diversity of the habitat of wild animals. Those businesspeople collude with those who are at present powerful through corruption and dictatorship under the pretext of development.

“In such a situation [after the elections], a Sam Rainsy government will not spare the crimes of a handful of wicked people including dishonest businesspeople who steal from the nation, ‘rat oknhas’ who own tens of thousands of hectares of land concessions; some other oknhas not only take state land, they even grab from the citizens with the help of powerful officials and the courts, which are very corrupt to-the-bone. A government ruled by the Sam Rainsy Party will review all wrong contracts which affect the national and the citizens’ interests, and expropriate a number of illegal economic land concessions, which have been taken by collusion between powerful people and ‘rat oknhas,’ and give them to citizens. A Sam Rainsy government will not let dishonest businesspeople steal billions of dollars of state property like the current corrupt government, that defends such dishonest businesspeople. A Sam Rainsy government will protect national and international businesspeople and investors who do business legally, respect the labor law, and pay taxes appropriately to the state.

“In the arrogant speech of the man with an aluminum fist, Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, he said that during the nearly 30 years while the party ruled the country, there had never been much money in the national treasury like today (how could there have been money when the system was corrupt to the bone – whispering [probably added by they newspaper’s typesetter, a prank sometimes used in other countries]: – is this Hun Sen’s speech or the writer’s?); now there is an amount of Riel 1,000,000 kaut in the national treasury [the numeric unit kaut is defined differently in different reference sources: 1 kaut either representing the amount of 1,000,000,000 or of 1,000,000,000,000; these would roughly correspond to US$260 billion or US$26,000,000 billion]. Some officials told Samleng Sadeav that this sounds very ridiculous… it is shameful… if there is such a big amount of money, why not increase the salaries for civil servants, police, soldiers, workers, and teachers, in order that they can appropriately live in an honorable living standard, without having to seek for extra income… the prices of goods doubled, so why not double the salaries also?

“Regarding this case, Mr. Sam Rainsy told Samleng Sadeav, ‘If a government of the Sam Rainsy Party rules the country, Mr. Sam Rainsy will increase the salaries for civil servants, police, soldiers, workers, and teachers – at least to Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75] for workers, and at least Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125] for officials of all institutions, in line with the prices of goods on the market, and he guaranteed to decrease the price of fuel from Riel 5,000 [approx. US$1.25] to Riel 3,800 [approx. US$0.95].

“Mr. Hun Sen’s current government is incompetent to decrease the prices of goods on the market and to increase the salaries for officials of all levels, workers, and teachers; that is why our writer gave him a new name as the Dekchor Hun Sen [= the Strongman Hun Sen], the man [not with an iron, but] with an aluminum fist.

“One more thing that is very ridiculous is that Mr. Hun Sen boasted that nowadays our country is rich in wild animals. A source from a citizen, living in Tuek Thla commune, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh, Mr. Lim Socheat, said that the current government develops in all sectors – what a rubbish, how can it be rich in wild animals when all valuable trees have been cut and sold, and the minerals in the ground, gems and other minerals, have been totally destroyed, and in the water, there are not many fish left, like it was during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum time? Little development, conducted only in the densely populated areas deceive the eyes of the national and international community, and especially of the donor countries (on the land, there are now more mosquitoes, and in the water, there are more mosquito larvae). The citizens should be no longer deceived, they know well the tricks, and they will never be cheated again…” Samleng Sadeav, Vol.1, #6, 5-6.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 6 May 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1632, 4-5.5.2008

  • [Director of an institute of civic studies] Dr. Chhim Phal Vorun Reveals [former Cambodian Center for Human Rights president and now Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha’s Corruption [allegation relating to finance reporting]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #577, 5.5.2008

  • Number of Voters Declines because There Has Been No Progress [no motivation to vote – according to a report of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #147, 4-6.5.2008

  • Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru, director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights]: Press Freedom in Cambodia Is Under Threat and Power of Cambodian People’s Party
  • Cambodian People’s Party Forces Students to Register as Its Members

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6336, 5.5.2008

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Continues to Friendly Accept New Members without Discrimination with an Open Heart and Does Not Care Whether New or Old
  • An Authority [a deputy governor] of Mukh Kampul District Breaks Dam to Enclose 160 Hectares of Land of Refuge for Fish Laying Eggs [Kandal]
  • [Two] Children Looking after Cattle Found B-40 Rocket and Hit It; Both of Them Were Killed by the Explosion [30 April 2008 – Rotonak Mondol, Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3451, 5.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: A Government Led by the Sam Rainsy Party Will Confiscate National Property [which has been appropriated] from Wicked Companies for Citizens
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Yim Sovann: Hun Sen’s Ways to Deal with Land Disputes Is Just Demagogy and Deceiving the People

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4580, 4-5.5.2008

  • Supreme Court Orders Samdech Krom Preah to Present Defense Memoir over the Sale of Funcinpec Headquarters
  • Samdech [Hun Sen] Vice-President of Cambodian People’s Party Declares to Accept Officials from Sam Rainsy Party until the Election Day
  • Samdech Dekchor: ‘As Long as the Cambodian People’s Party Rules the Country, the Respect of Religious Beliefs Is Guaranteed’ [stated at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a pagoda in Kompong Chhnang on 3 May 2008; some countries adhere to a strict and discriminating policy on religions or promote one religion; Cambodia has a record of respecting Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity]
  • Cambodian Prime Minister Pushes the US-ASEAN Business Council to Check Potential of Investments in the Agricultural Field

Samleng Sadeav, Vol.1, #6, 5-6.5.2008

  • Mr. Hun Sen Said that Ly Yong Phat Has between US$300 Million to US$1 Billion

Have a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press empowers the people to control their own lives

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