Week 634

Knowing – Using – or Disregarding the Law – Sunday, 18.10.2009

Posted on 20 October 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634

Discussions about the law, or actions without much awareness or even disregard for the law, are reaching the media regularly, sometimes in increasing numbers – just like now. This reflects, of course, also a general awareness in certain sections of the public.

Whoever mentions the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia is mostly happy about it, and since the introduction of the Senate into to political structures of the country, there was hardly any suggestion that the Constitution should be changed – though there have been repeated pleas that its implementation should be improved. Though one member of the National Assembly is reported to have said recently he regrets that the death penalty is excluded by the Constitution – an opinion quite contrary to international developments during the last decade.

But that does not mean that it is always clear how certain basic statements in the Constitution are to be translated into practice. The conflicts between different mobile phone service providers, going on since a couple of weeks already, have shown this.

The Constitution simply says in Articles 56, 57, and 63:

  • “The Kingdom of Cambodia shall adopt the market economy system.
  • The preparation and process of this economic system shall be determined by the law.
  • Tax collection shall be in accordance with the law…
  • The State shall respect market management in order to guarantee a better standard of living for the people.”

But had it been “determined by law” what, for example, as we mirrored on 15 October 2009, that “Road Tax Checking for 2009 Will Begin on 16 October 2009 Countrywide.” Why only now in October, one might ask – does this boost tax income, or did it delay payments to the state by those who have enough resources to own motorized vehicles?

The charges and payment methods of several old and new mobile phone providers – all supposedly operating according to a market economy system – led not only to confrontative discussions among them, but also to a disruption of certain services: some systems were said to not have forwarded calls to some other systems – the users, the consumers, suffered from these conflicts, so that finally appeals to the government were made to find solutions.

What had happened? Some newer companies had started to offer new fee and payment systems, including free calls between users of the same system, but charging for calls to others networks. Competitive pricing seemed for those who offered it within the market economy system, as in many other countries – where it is left to the market to see which company survives with the response they get from their customers.

The Constitution, concerned with the most favorable results for the end consumer, seems to support this also:

  • “The State shall respect market management in order to guarantee a better standard of living for the people.”

Cheaper communication costs seem to fulfill this goal.

It is always a good practice so look at innovative approaches in other countries – not necessarily to follow everything, but to seriously consider solutions others found in their context:

Earlier this year, the Tata corporation of India, dealing with cars, telecommunications, and steel, is setting up with the Japanese DOCOMO company, a new cellular service in the Indian market, where there are already more than 350 million customers. So Tata DOCOMO had to find ways to compete. All very similar to Cambodia – but on a much smaller scale. Tata DOCOMO used special lower cost pricing – charging per second where others charge per minute, charging SMS by the number of of letters sent, and not per message.

But it seems that decisions have been taken in Cambodia not to allow a “free market management,” by not allowing some companies to offer their customers free services. And even a special private company will be introduced to do the work which in many other countries is one of the tasks of the regulators, not of another private company – doing public coordination – which was not formed as a not-for-profit, and not by public bidding.

Not according to existing laws, but by administrative intervention, a market problem is being solved.

During the week, another crucial problem of acting within and according to the framework of the law was raised: Who knows what the law says – how is this made know? Known to the citizens what rights they have, and know to the law enforcement agents throughout the country – the police and the courts – which rights of the citizens they have to protect.

We repeat some observations from Saturday, 19.10.2009 – more details and the source is there:

Civil Society Wants to See that the Government Publishes the Contents of Law as Broadly as It Does at the National Assembly

“Though Article 13 of the Law on the Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers (1994) provides that “all norms and standards with general effect must be published in the Official Gazette,” the publication of Cambodian laws is intermittent, incomplete and poorly distributed…

“On the basis of the Cambodian specific experience … there is an argument that the publication and distribution of law in electronic form is an appropriate tool to address the question of access to information in a legal system which has operated without adequate access to even the most basic legal information.

“Though there are issues to consider with regard to the development of a legal information system which will work in the Cambodian context, the country would appear to be at a juncture whereby there is sufficient political will to commence a dialogue with government, academia and civil society with a view to developing a model for the sustainable provision of legal information via the internet. Ideally, any movements in this direction would be accompanied by a regulation requiring all institutions of state to provide certain identified classes of documents for free electronic distribution…”

But there are different opinions about the sequence in which new legislation is needed in society: “The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law.” Why this sequence? “Because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.”

Of course there are also those who just don’t seem to care, as long as the law enforcement leadership of the country does not care either, as we had mirrored:

“Koh Kong, Kompong Thom, and Prey Veng Governors Do not Care about Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Order to Crack Down On Gambling”

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Cambodia Has No Insurance for the Durability of Buildings – Saturday, 17.10.2009

Posted on 18 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634

“Phnom Penh: People are always excited when they travel along roads with new buildings and construction sites, but senior staff of insurance companies in Cambodia claimed that by now, there is still no insurance for building durability in Cambodia.

“In Phnom Penh, many high rise buildings are being constructed nowadays, especially along the Monivong Boulevard. Representatives of insurance companies in Cambodia said that Cambodia has no law requiring high rise building to pay for building durability insurance.

“A manager of an insurance company who asked not to be named said that so far, in Cambodia there is no law requiring to contract building durability insurance for high rise buildings. That is why construction quality is still a challenging issue, and clients have just to trust.

“He added, ‘So far, Cambodian law requires only to have third party liability insurance during the period of the construction, but there is still a gap to achieve insurance for building durability.’

“He went on to say that in other countries, almost all construction activity includes to contract durability insurance for buildings. Therefore, the quality of construction in those countries is guaranteed, and the durability of buildings can be predicted, while in Cambodia, there is no such thing.

“The director of the Caminco Insurance company, Mr. Duong Vibol, said on 15 October 2009 that also his insurance company offers insurance services related to the construction of buildings, but the agents of the company have not been able to attract clients constructing big and high rise buildings.

“He said, ‘I do not know what the requirements of the laws are, but we have assigned agents to talk to them, but so far, there is no response – or they said that they had already bought insurance from abroad.’

“Also the director of the Forte Insurance company, Mr. Yak Chamroenrith, said on the same day that most high rise buildings being constructed along the Monivong Boulevard belong to clients of his company, but they contracted only third party liability insurance, but there is no insurance yet for the durability of the buildings. He said, ‘In modern countries, there is such a service, but in Cambodia, there is none.’

“According to Mr. Chamroenrith, the third party liability insurance is a service that guarantees payments only for accidents that might happen during the construction, but it does not guarantee the quality or the durability of buildings.’

“He continued to say that for the insurance of building durability, many studies have to be made and conditions have to be fulfilled.

“While local insurance companies claimed that high rise buildings being constructed do not have insurance for the durability of the building, they said that those big constructions companies might have insurance service contracts with companies abroad.

“Mr. Chamroenrith added that in general, the construction of such high rise building is not conducted without proper thinking about the quality. Most conditions have to be met to have insurance, even during the stage of the construction. But what he is concerned about is the quality of buildings constructed by private developers.

“Though those high rise buildings may already have insurance, the above mentioned anonymous person suggested that the construction companies should pay for insurance from local companies.

“He added, ‘The construction is conducted in Cambodia, while the insurance is bought from foreign countries. This can be risky.’

“He went on to say that to promote the local insurance sector, all construction companies should contract such services from local insurance companies.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5023, 17.10.2009

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Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 17 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #313, 17.10.2009

  • The Chinese Prime Minister Promised to Jointly Address the Economic Crisis, Cooperating with Cambodia
  • Husband and Wife, Both Teachers, Detained Girls for Torture [they were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2074, 17.10.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin Will Lead a Senior Delegation of the National Assembly to Russia in Early November 2009
  • The [Vietnamese] Branch Director of Cambodia Angkor Air Was Chased and Shot by [two] Gunmen in Front of His House [fortunately, he was not hit; the perpetrators escaped – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #511, 17.10.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Defenders’ Project] Wants to See that the Government Publishes the Contents of Law as Broadly as It Does at the National Assembly [after laws have been adopted and published in the Official Gazette which is not broadly distributed, the citizens and the law enforcement agents who have to implement the law need to be informed to avoid any wrong implementation of the law]

Note:

A description of related considerations can be found in the following article published on 30 January 2006 by the Journal of Information, Law and Technology:

Access to Legal Information in Cambodia: Initial Steps, Future Possibilities

Though Article 13 of the Law on the Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers (1994) provides that “all norms and standards with general effect must be published in the Official Gazette,” the publication of Cambodian laws is intermittent, incomplete and poorly distributed. This problem is compounded by the fact that the 1993 Constitution expressly saves laws which were made under previous regimes, arguably including laws from the pre-Khmer Rouge period. For these reasons there is no definitive collection of Cambodian laws currently in force…

Next Steps

On the basis of the Cambodian specific experience … there is an argument that the publication and distribution of law in electronic form is an appropriate tool to address the question of access to information in a legal system which has operated without adequate access to even the most basic legal information.

Though there are issues to consider with regard to the development of a legal information system which will work in the Cambodian context, the country would appear to be at a juncture whereby there is sufficient political will to commence a dialogue with government, academia and civil society with a view to developing a model for the sustainable provision of legal information via the internet. Ideally, any movements in this direction would be accompanied by a regulation requiring all institutions of state to provide certain identified classes of documents for free electronic distribution…

Thus in Cambodia, as elsewhere in the world, we should anticipate that the development of the rule of law will be dependent not only on information sharing, but on the establishment of networks of people who are determined to use that information to promote a legal system which is independent, predicable and just.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6781, 17-18.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Interior Announced Results: 8,500 Gangsters Were Intercepted [from 13 July to 13 October 2009 – arrests, some sent to the courts, some handed over to their parents or to social or rehabilitation centers]; Traffic Accidents in 2008 Wasted US$308 Million
  • In 2010 Khmer and Thai People Can Cross the Border without Applying for Visas [according to ASEAN and bilateral agreements]
  • The Cuban Ambassador to Cambodia Announced that the Cuban Government Demands that the United States of America Withdraw Their Economic [commercial, financial, and taxation] Sanction [against Cuba]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5023, 17.10.2009

  • Cambodia Has No Insurance for the Durability of Buildings
  • [The Chinese Prime Minister] Mr. Wen Jiabao [温家宝 – Pinyin: Wēn Jiābǎo] Told Samdech Euv [former King] that China Will Continue Its Cooperation with Cambodia
  • Typhoon Ketsana Killed 35 People and Destroyed Property Worth Approximately US$41 Million [according to the assessment of the National Committee for Disaster Management
  • Court Released Four Chinese Men on Bail [they assaulted and injured two police seriously in Kampot]

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The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict – Friday, 16.10.2009

Posted on 18 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634

“Mobile phone businesses in Cambodia, working under unclear regulations, seem to encounter unexpectedly a stormy and disorderly time. For the morning of 16 October 2009, the Minister of Post and Telecommunications plans to organize a special meeting with representatives of mobile phone companies to intervene in the existing conflict, but it is expected that proper results cannot be found from just one coordination meeting.

“Mobile phone service providers said that the circular of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, administered by Minister Keat Chhon, from 29 September 2009, says to require all mobile phone companies to pay taxes for all types of calls by their clients [calls-in and calls-out]. But it is said that tax officials do not join now to work on taxes, which must always be settled at the end of every year.

“Mobile phone service providers note that the circular of Mr. Keat Chhon seems to bring a new restriction for mobile phone companies, as calls within the same system, which at some companies cost zero cents, will have to change soon. The free calls within the Beeline and the Smart Mobile systems will no longer be allowed to continue, while the Ministry of Economy starts to collect taxes from these call by their clients.

“It is noted that the initiative for a clear set of taxes on call led to this intervention, requiring all mobile phone companies to limit all call to be cost charged, in order to eliminate dishonest competition at the market, for which the Beeline company had been accused by the Mobitel company.

“The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications agreed to issue a license for a data management center to control the data of telecommunication and of information technology services, based on Decree 135, dated 15 September 2008. Through the plan to create a center to control data of telecommunication and information technology services, the government, represented by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, will cooperate with the private data management center as stated in the cooperation deal.

“This center for the control of data of telecommunication and of information technology services will be responsible for:

  1. Directly control all data of telecommunication and information technology services, and update them, based on the advance of technology in this sector;
  2. Control and monitor all activities of the center;
  3. Regularly report about the traffic and the figures of income, in order to facilitate the calculation of taxes, and the distribution of income between the state. and the telecommunication and information technology service providers and operators, who are partners;
  4. Provide accurate data for income forecasts, to analyze the economic potential, and for development projects in telecommunication and information technology.
  5. Broaden and control the inter-network connections, in order to ensure calls between different system to work smoothly to avoid traffic congestion between all operating networks;
  6. Support small operators to operate through the opening of special networks outside of the system;
  7. Disconnect illegal traffic exchanges, following the authorities’ orders and the telecommunication regulations;
  8. Regularly review the system at set times for all operating networks.

“Some mobile phone operators are not satisfied with this, because probably the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication lacks the capital and the technicians, and therefore will cooperate with private companies to control telecommunication and information technology services, leading to conflicts of interest among mobile phone companies. Actually, the state already has the a structure within Post and Telecommunications that can control telecommunication data, and it is not necessary to cooperate with a private data management center, a private company.

“Also the circular that restricts certain system call of the clients, according to mobile phone service providers, will create work for the private data management center and encourage this company to begin collecting call taxes. This might ease the tax collection of the Ministry of Economy, but it leads to conflicts of interest, as the state does not have the ability to work on this by itself, but offers this opportunity to a private company to easily take benefits.

“[The Minister for Post and Telecommunications] Mr. So Khun had tried to intervene to solve the conflicts between mobile phone companies which are competing with each other dishonestly, including the fact that some stopped to connect inter-system traffic, but it seemed to create problems between mobile phone businesspeople in Cambodia. These might be the result of uncertain laws and regulations for the operation of mobile phone businesses in Cambodia.

“There is one proper solution to end the conflicts among mobile phone operators, that is the suggestion to the government, especially to Prime Ministry Hun Sen, to cancel the license for a data management cente with full rights to control the telecommunication and the information technology data in Cambodia, and to encourage the state to administer this itself, because by doing so, at least some of the profits do not fall into the hands of a private company.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #312, 16.10.2009

  • Gold Sellers and Currency Exchangers Were Robed Again, Taking Away More Than US$50,000 [Phnom Penh]
  • Cotton Will Have Markets Again after There Is Investment for Export to International Markets
  • There Are Positive Signs of Recovering at Micro-Finance Institutions [Sthapana Limited, Amarith, and Prasak micro-credit-institutions claim that they are again giving out more loans]
  • Cambodia Asked for Financial Support from the United Arab Emirates to Develop Some Projects [in infrastructure and agriculture – no information stated if these were requests for loans or for grants]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2073, 16.10.2009

  • Cambodia Might Not Bring the Border Dispute to the ASEAN Summit [after the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs sent an official response, to deny the intention to create a neutral unit in ASEAN to solve border disputes, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia – according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Three Chinese Men Were Arrested for Questioning after Assaulting and Injuring Two Police Seriously [Kampot]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict
  • Russia Will Intensify Cultural Ties with Cambodia to Open a New Historical Page [by showing Russian films about the victory of Russia in World War II, from 20 to 24 October 2009, at the Russian Center of Science and Culture along the Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh; and Cambodia and Russia will cooperate in film production in 2010]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #510, 16.10.2009

  • Within the Last Four Months More Than 400 Trucks Loaded Wood from Ratanakiri to Carry to Yuon [Vietnam – according to a Ratanakiri official who reported it anonymously]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6780, 16.10.2009

  • Houses [of 28 families] Constructed on a Pedestrian Area at the Roundabout of the Chroy Chongva Bridge Were Removed [and destroyed, to widen the road – Phnom Penh]
  • [The head of the Directorate of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts] Mr. Sin Chanchhaya [son of the well-known signer Sin Sisamut]: The Reason Why Khmer Films Cannot Progress, Is that Film Productions Are Made by Non-Professional People
  • Because of Losing Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15], a Cruel Man Got Angry with His Wife and Hit Her to Death [he was arrested – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5022, 16.10.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Decided to End the [defamation] Case against the Prime Minister [saying that she will not appeal to the Supreme Court]
  • Queensland Police [of Australia] Donates [five] Speed Checking Devices and [thirty] Alcohol Checking Devices to the Cambodian Police

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1809, 16-18.10.2009

  • The Opposition Parties and a Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Said that if a New Demonstration Law [limiting the number of people to less than 200 to assemble at a public place with permission from the authorities, to be applied for at least 12 hours before] Is Not Corrected, It Would Be Just a Tool to Cheat about the Implementation of Democracy in Cambodia

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The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Stressed the Place of Bilateral Ties with Cambodia Ahead of a Visit by the Korean President Next Week – Thursday, 15.10.2009

Posted on 16 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Thursday, 15.10.2009

“Just a week before a visit by the South Korean President to Cambodia, the ambassador noticed that the pace of investment, of commerce, and of other ties between Cambodia and Korea has flourished significantly, making South Korea the country with the most investors in Cambodia and with the highest number of international tourists’ arrivals since the establishment of ties between both countries in 1997.

“The President of the Republic of Korea will lead a government and businesspeople’s delegation to make an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia for two days from 22 to 23 October 2009.

“During a roundtable meeting organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists with support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany on 14 October 2009 at the Hotel Cambodiana, the Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, said that the two-day visit by the Korean President in Cambodia is made in response to an invitation by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, who officially visited the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in June 2009.

“The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, recounted the achievements of the Cambodian-Korean ties ahead of a visit by the head of the Korean government to Cambodia during the forum about cooperation between Cambodia and the Republic of Korea. He said that besides meeting with the King and top leaders of Cambodia, the South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak will attend talks with Cambodian and Korean investors in Phnom Penh.

“The Ambassador said that Korean investments in Cambodia increased up to US$2.7 Billion by 2007. In 2008, investments amounted US$1,238 million. He said these are figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia. In the first six months of 2009, Korean investments amounted to only US$100 million, declining by 58% compared to the corresponding period in 2008. He went on to say that this was due to the global economic crisis, but not due to any other reasons.

“Ambassador Lee Kyung-Soo added that after establishing diplomatic ties in 1997, Korean investors invested in the garment sector, in tourism, and in mineral resources development. From 2007 onward, Korean investors invested also in construction, real estate, agriculture, industry, and finance and banking.

“As for commerce, Korean is in the 7th position of countries importing products to Cambodia, worth US$309 million, while Cambodia is in the 80th position of countries importing to South Korea, exporting products worth US$294 million.

“Also, South Korea is one of the important donors of Cambodia. Since 2001, there have been US$220 million in loans and US$46 million in grant aid.

“The Ambassador said during the forum with Cambodian journalists that at present, there are 8,400 Khmer people living (legally) in Korea, including Khmer workers, Khmer women married to Korean men, and Khmer students. Among these 8,400 Khmer people, 2,900 are Khmer women married to Korean men, and 4,900 workers. There are about 4,000 Korean people living in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“According to an announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia on 14 October 2009, during the official visit to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will meet the King of Cambodia, Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromaneath Norodom Sihamony. Then he will meet in courtesey visits with the President of the Senate, Samdech Akkak Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim and the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin. He will have top bilateral meetings with the Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen.

“The announcement says that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will witness a signing ceremony for two agreements between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commerce of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Yu Myung-Wan – an extradition agreement, and an agreement on financial credits for economic development cooperation from 2009 to 2012.

“During the first official visit by the South Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak to Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that five more documents are expected to be signed also. 1. Agreement about cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Korea and the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia; 2. Agreement on cooperation to produce publications; 3. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in the mine sector; 4. Memorandum of Understanding about joint cooperation in exploring mineral resources; and 5. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in investments to plant trees and on problems of climate change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5021, 15.10.2009

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Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #311, 15.10.2009

  • Today the Cambodian Prime Minister Will Travel to China to Attend a [commercial and economic] Exhibition [some loan agreements are expected to be signed during his visiting]
  • South Korea Will Invest to Establish a Car Manufacturing Factory in Cambodia [the Hyundai company plans to establish a factory in Koh Kong]
  • Citizens Countrywide Spend US$69.5 Million per Year on Cigarettes [according to the Cambodia Movement for Health]
  • Thirteen More People Were Confirmed with Swine Flu [adding the number up to 146 in total in Cambodia]
  • Obama Agreed to Send 12,000 More Soldiers to Afghanistan [other sources of information say that no decision has been taken]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2072, 15.10.2009

  • The Director of the [new, planned] Southeast Asian Radio and Television Station Was Arrested for Allegedly Taking US$7 Million [Phnom Penh – The Cambodia Daily of 15.10.2009 reports that the station will start to broadcast in January 2010]
  • The United Arab Emirates Plan to Invest in Rice Cultivation in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, and the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori]
  • Road Tax Checking for 2009 Will Begin on 16 October 2009 Countrywide

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #509, 15.10.2009

  • For the Second Time the Appeals Court Rejected to Accept Mu Sochua’s Complaint [against Prime Minister Hun Sen for defamation] and It Will Not Summon [Prime Minister] Hun Sen for Questioning [while Ms. Mu Sochua had been fined Riel 16.5 million (approx. US$4,125), as a fine and as compensation, for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6779, 15.10.2009

  • Cambodia Is Waiting for an Official Response [which denies, according to press reports, that the Thai Foreign Minister would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute”], but Cambodia Will Not Respond though the Media [according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, Cambodia will raise the Khmer-Thai border disputes during the ASEAN summit]

Note:

In the meantime The Cambodia Daily reported from the official Thai response, which quotes an agreement achieved during the visit of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva with Prime Minister Hun Sen: “Both sides agreed that the issue of the Temple of Phra Viharn be addressed through existing bilateral mechanisms between our two countries.”

It might also be remembered that there are multiple claims since many years on the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, by the ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (in addition to claims by China, and separately also by Taiwan), but the ASEAN member states have agreed that this conflict between member states of ASEAN should not be handled by ASEAN, as it might split the positions of the other ASEAN countries – and the countries concerned should work on their bilateral problems bilaterally.

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #26, 15.10.2009

  • The National Assembly Adopted a Demonstration Law [less than 200 people can assemble at a public place with permission from the authorities, to be applied for at least 12 hours before]
  • [South] Korea Plans to Invest in a Hydro-Electric Dam at the Sesan River [US$700 million to generate 325 megawatt of electricity – Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5021, 15.10.2009

  • The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Stressed the Place of Bilateral Ties with Cambodia Ahead of a Visit by the Korean President Next Week
  • More Than US$200 Million Is Needed to Reconstruct the 1,200 Irrigation Systems Countrywide [according to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1808, 15.10.2009

  • The Government Maintains a Position to Solve the Border Disputes with Siam [Thailand] in the ASEAN Framework

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Cambodia Will Have Nuclear Power Plants to Generate Electricity – Wednesday, 14.10.2009

Posted on 15 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Wednesday, 14.10.2009

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, announced on Tuesday morning, 13 October 2009, that in the near future, Cambodia will have nuclear power plants to generate electricity.

“This remark was made by Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh during a session of the National Assembly, as he appeared there to defend a draft law about the prohibition of chemical, nuclear, biological, and radioactive weapons.

“Recognizing the destruction caused by the explosion of a nuclear power plants in Russia previously, Mr. Tea Banh explained to the session of the National Assembly that nuclear power is very useful serving peaceful purposes to make a strong contribution, developing a country. Previously, a nuclear power plants generating electricity had exploded in the Soviet Union [in Chernobyl in 1986], and radioactive substances spread and destroyed human lives. But based on that experience, the use of nuclear power has advanced considerably. At present, nuclear power is considered as a source of energy that can be set up to produce electricity, along with proper management, for peaceful purposes and for the development of a country. However, Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh did not give any details about any plan to generate electricity in Cambodia in the future by using nuclear power.

“Also, during the National Assembly session on Tuesday morning, the members of the National Assembly began to check and adopt a draft law about the ban of chemical, nuclear, biological, and radioactive weapons.

“This draft, as claimed by the Deputy Prime Minister, aims to completely prohibit, in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the manufacture, possession, use, and transport of chemical, nuclear, biological, and radioactive weapons, and of chemical substances that are used to create such weapons.

“Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh added that this law also intends to ensure security and public order, to protect the environment and citizens’ well-being, as well as to protect the security and peace in the region and in the world.

“The draft with 13 chapters and 32 articles requires the establishment of a national authority for combating chemical weapons with the Minister of Defense as head and with involvement from relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The draft prohibits chemical and other specific weapons systems, and also states the penalties that threaten the offenders, to serve 20 to 30 years in prison, or for life, if they are found guilty of intentionally manufacturing, possessing, transporting, or using chemical, nuclear, biological, and radioactive weapons.

“Besides, a person that intentionally manufactures, buys, sells, possesses, stores, transfers, transports, or uses chemical substances in the health sector, in industry, mines, energy, agriculture, research, and other peaceful contexts, without the permission from relevant institutions or ministries, will be fined from Riel 20 million to Riel 50 million [approx. US$5,000 to US$12,500].

“The new law banning chemical weapons allows the use of chemical, nuclear, biological, and radioactive substances in the health sector, and in industrial, mineral, energy, agriculture, researches, and other peaceful activities and have a permission from the relevant institutions.

“Also, yesterday the National Assembly session checked and approved 17 articles of the draft law banning weapons of mass destruction. The National Assembly will check and approve the overall content of this draft on Wednesday morning of 14 October 2009.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5020, 14.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #310, 14.10.2009

  • The South Korean President Will Visit Cambodia on 22 October 2009
  • A Woman Sang at a Restaurant to Earn Her Living, but Her Husband Got Jealous and Killed Her [then escaped – Poipet]
  • North Korea Fired Five Missiles, Surprising the World

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2071, 14.10.2009

  • A Siamese Official [the spokesperson of Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Denied that [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya Had Suggested to Create a Neutral Structure [in ASEAN, to solve border disputes, and denied a report in the Bangkok Post] saying so
  • Chinese Court Sentenced Six Persons To Death Involved in the Xinjiang Riots

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #660, 14.10.2009

  • Koh Kong, Kompong Thom, and Prey Veng Governors Do not Care about [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s order] to Crack Down On Gambling [it is reported that there is one big gambling site in Koh Kong, three big gambling sites in Prey Veng, and one in Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6778, 14.10.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Modernizing the National Defense Sector in Order to Have Sufficient Capacity Is in Line with the Situation [he said so during the 15th anniversary of the creation of Brigade 70]
  • The National Election Committee Informed about the Checking and Registration of Names in the Voter Lists [where 95,446 persons were added], Now There Are 8,400,448 Citizens over the Age of 18

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5020, 14.10.2009

  • Cambodia Will Have Nuclear Power Plants to Generate Electricity
  • Three Tax Office Chiefs in Kandal Were Removed from Their Positions, They Had Extorted Money from Cars Transporting Vegetable
  • The New Japanese Ambassador Promised to Help Attract Japanese Investors to Cambodia
  • Germany Affirms Support in the Land Sector in Cambodia [there is a plan for a meeting between a Cambodian and a German delegation to decide on aid for Cambodia from 15 to 16 October 2009]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1807, 14.10.2009

  • The International Institute for Justice and Development Warned that the government Must Support the Action of [the foreign investigating judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Mr. Marcel Lemonde [who summoned six high ranking government officials to testify]

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The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

Posted on 14 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

“According to the opinion of the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers [Mr. Chea Mony], workers demonstrate or strike because of corruption. Therefore an anti-corruption law should be created sooner than a demonstration law, because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.

“Mr. Chea Mony said during an interview with the media yesterday, Monday [12 October 2009], ‘Civil society organizations are concerned about the freedom of the citizens, that is including the freedom of all workers, because demonstrations and strikes are held concerned with freedom by citizens whose benefit is lost, due to corruption and because the powerful always restrict the citizens to express their opinion to demand respect and the implementation of the law, but finally, their rights are restricted.’

“The president of the biggest trade union in Cambodia made this remark some days ahead of a meeting of the National Assembly of Cambodia which will discuss to adopt a new demonstration law.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the new law suggested by the Ministry of Interior and planned to be discussed soon is in clear contrast to the previous demonstration legislation from 1993.

“He went on to say, ‘The demonstration law of 1993 granted citizens full rights to attend demonstrations, but what is seen at present is that a new law is being drafted to allow only 200 people at the most to demonstrate, and even that will require that the names of the leaders of the demonstrations must be reported ahead of time.’

“Mr. Chea Mony explained this point, ‘If there are leaders of a demonstration, the authorities will ask who the leaders are. But if a demonstration is held in response to the will of the citizens, for example in a factory with 5,000 workers whose salaries have not been paid by the owner of the company, as the law limits the number to only 200 people as representatives, these cannot represent the interests of the 5,000 workers strongly. Thus, we think that the law being drafted by the Ministry of Interior to be sent to the National Assembly for adoption does not reflect the will of the workers or the people.’

“He also mentioned another point, as that law limits the number of demonstrators to only 200, saying, ‘if, for example, 5,000 families are evicted to grab their land for a high ranking and powerful person, according to that new law, only 200 people are allowed to demonstrate, but if those 200 people are bought over, these 200 people will no longer reflect the other 4,800 families. Therefore, the government should open the possibility giving citizens the right to demonstrate or to strike at any place, and the government should just prepare authorities to protect their safety. That is enough.’

“It should be remembered that according the Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, in an independent state practicing democracy, citizens from all classes were allowed to assemble, to express their opinion through demonstrations and strikes without any strict conditions. It was enough to just inform the authorities, so that they prepared police to protect the safety of the demonstrators.

“It is noticed that what was stated in the Constitution of 1993 was not implemented properly, as the authorities of the government used different pretexts, like security and public order, to reject requests for holding an assembly. Or armed forces were ordered to attack the demonstrators to disperse them.

“These interventions are seen as seriously violating the policy of democracy, which Cambodia had signed to accept and to practice.

“The freedom of expression which is strongly restricted in Cambodia, does not change; moreover, it will become even worse as the demonstration law sets a limits of 200 persons as representatives for demonstrations to be adopted by the National Assembly.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the assembly of workers as well as of Khmer citizens in general, to express their opinion, emerges from one problem: that is corruption and social injustice. If this terrible problem can be solved, there will be no demonstrations.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #309, 13.10.2009

  • The Minister of Information Did Not Accept to Meet Radio Free Asia Representatives
  • The Ministry of Health Prepares to Distribute 500,000 Leaflets to Educate the Public about A/H1N1 during the Water Festival

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2070, 13.10.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [Thailand] to Include the Cambodian-Thai [Preah Vihear] Dispute into the Agenda of the ASEAN Summit [planned to be held from 23 to 25 October 2009 in Thailand – after the Thai Foreign Minister was quoted by the Bangkok Post to have said he would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute” over their shared border near the Preah Vihear temple complex. Later, the Thai Foreign Ministry denied the report by the Bangkok Post]
  • Nearly 500 Garment Workers Fainted after Having Eaten Lunch [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6777, 13.10.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Man Was Accused of Killing a Khmer Woman in a Guesthouse [by strangling her – Phnom Penh]
  • An A/H1N1 Scanner Was Set Up at the Poipet Border Crossing

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #24, 13.10.2009

  • Victimized Citizens at Oddar Meanchey Ask for Intervention [after their houses were burnt in a land dispute, where 14 citizens are being sought for arrest]
  • The US Parliamentarians [Edward Royce, Frank Wolf, James Moran and Joseph Cao] Mentioned Human Rights Issues [and corruption in Cambodia – and submitted it to the US congress]
  • Cambodia Plans to Export 1,000 Tonnes of Cotton to the Vietnamese Market Later This Year
  • Twenty Nine Cambodian Youth [15 boys, 14 girls] Attend the 36th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth [a Japanese initiative to strengthen cooperation and understanding among neighboring countries, in 2009 traveling 52 days visiting six countries – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. In the send-off meeting, the Prime Minister advised them to “maintain their dignity” as they will be “representing Cambodia and its people.”

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1468, 12.10.2009

  • Police Seized a Car [illegally] Loaded with Animals at the Poipet Border Crossing

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5019, 13.10.2009

  • Three Young Girls Drowned on the Same Day [Pursat]
  • Eleven Monks Were Found Drinking Alcohol in a Pagoda and Nine of Them Were Defrocked [Siem Reap]
  • [More than 20] Chinese People Who Work at the Kamchay Hydro-Electric Dam Construction Site Hit the Traffic Police Officers when They Stopped Their Car for Checking [two traffic police were injured seriously; no information about arrests – Kampot]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law

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2010 Will Be the Year That Vietnamese Products Flow in Heavily – Up to US$2 Billion – Monday, 12.10.2009

Posted on 13 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Monday, 12.10.2009

“Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam will increase dramatically in 2010, if the Cambodian economy recovers again from the global economic crisis.

“According to a report by a Vietnamese radio station on 9 October 2009, commerce between both countries will rise to as much as US$2 billion in 2010. In 2008, commerce between Vietnam and Cambodia surpassed the commerce between Cambodia and Thailand.

“According to the Ministry of Commerce of Vietnam and an industry report, the commerce between both countries declined by 29.2% to only US$858 million within the nine months in 2009 (by September). Vietnamese exports to Cambodia amounted to more than US$726 million. Vietnam is the fourth biggest importer of agricultural products from Cambodia, like rubber and wood and wood products.

“What is also noticeable is that within nine months, more than 40 Vietnamese companies were registered in Cambodia, a higher number than for other countries. In 2008, 52 Vietnamese companies were registered in Cambodia, the third position after China with 82, and Malaysia with 56 companies.

“According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), investment from Vietnam increased up to US$114 million within nine months. This is more than the total amount within the 12 months of 2008. The Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam in Saigon opened a branch in Cambodia.

“While China is the biggest investor in Cambodia, Vietnam is becoming the biggest supplier of imports into Cambodia. Vietnam takes a bigger market share in Cambodia, while the imports from Thailand to Cambodia are affected by the border disputes between both countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5018, 11-12.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 12 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #308, 11-12.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Health Steps Up Activities to Control A/H1N1 Infections during the Water Festival [where a large number of people will come from the provinces to celebrate the event in Phnom Penh – the Ministry is preparing to broaden awareness about A/H1N1 in the public]
  • South Korea Will Expand Flights to Cambodia [adding flights also from Busan to Siem Reap, after tourist arrivals to Cambodia from South Korea had dropped due to the global financial crisis]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2069, 11-12.10.2009

  • A Southeast Asian Television Network [supported by a foundation for art and culture of Japan] Will Be Inaugurated in December 2009 [in Cambodia]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Returned from France with More Than Euro 200,000 of Aid for Poor Communities [from the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones, mainly for the improvement of clean water supply]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #659, 12.10.2009

  • 320 Police Officials of the Department of Public Order Reacted when New Uniforms Had Not Been Offered since Three Years [sending an anonymous letter to Khmer Amatak to make their problems known

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6776, 12.10.2009

  • More Than 1,000 Houses and the Doung International Border Crossing Point in Kamrieng District Are Flooded by Rain [Battambang]
  • An Adult Man Used Money to Lure a Girl for Sexual Relationship until His Wife Found Out [and then he was arrested – Kompong Speu]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #23, 12.10.2009

  • Seventeen People Died and Ten Are Missing after a Boat [that was overloaded] Sunk in Kratie
  • Nearly 100 Houses Were Burnt by the Oddar Meanchey Authorities [to evict citizens from disputed land, disputed with the Angkor Sugar Company, known to be owned by a Senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Ly Yong Phat]
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon: The Cambodian Economy Unexpectedly Encounters Many Problems
  • The Defense Lawyers of a Former Khmer Rouge Leader [Ieng Sary] Prepare to Sue the Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde for Bias [as he summoned six high ranking government officials who overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime to testify]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5018, 11-12.10.2009

  • 2010 Will Be the Year That Vietnamese Products Flow in Heavily – Up to US$2 Billion
  • The Millennium Development Goals of Cambodia: The Child Mortality Rate Will Remain a Concern [even though there had been declining figures, if health services are not improved]
  • France Helps Train Cambodian Troops [in preparing materials and in the French language] before They Are Sent to Chad and to the Central African Republic

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3499, 11.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Health Warns about a Pandemic of Swine Flu [the Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bunheng, told private hospitals to refer patients to state hospitals immediately if they are suspected to be infected with the A/H1N1 flu]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1805, 12.10.2009

  • An Opposition Party: The Government Should Take Its Wrongdoings into Account [repeating old Global Witness reports]

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