Week 638

Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia – Sunday, 15.11.2009

Posted on 18 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

Several mails I had received during the week requested what this week’s editorial should be about. Agreed. The visit of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to Cambodia has more than any other recent event received wide international attention – at the same time it resulted in bringing a range of different and opposing issues to the surface, beyond the straightforward political tensions.

The disparities start with the wording, how the visitor is called in national and international media: the possibilities extend from the fond description of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as an “eternal friend” by Prime Minister Hun Sen, to the more neutral description when referring to the “former Thai prime minister ousted by a military coup,” to the references – and this not only in part of the Thai press – to the “convicted fugitive, because of corruption, and who finally violated the bail requirements and fled the country to avoid going to prison.”

This is the first controversy.

The Cambodian government did not only refuse to live up to the Cambodian-Thai extradition agreement, “considering the prosecution and legal process against Thaksin Shinawatra as a politically motivated proceeding,” and therefore even handed back the Thai documents submitted to seek Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s extradition. On the other hand, the Thai government and part of the Thai media felt that already that extending an invitation and offering the function to be an adviser to the Cambodian government were an insult to the legal system of Thailand.

As a public reaction in Thailand, the popularity of the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, almost tripled, with appruval rates of 24% in September to 69% recently, according to a poll.

The interpretation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the present Cambodian-Thai dispute is basically a personal dispute between the two prime ministers, was not shared in the international press. More fundamental problems were touched upon: What does it mean for the international standing of a country when a search warrant by Interpol can be dismissed, after the fugitive, who is being sought under a “red alert” warrant, after a bail violation, and after a criminal conviction for corruption in dealing with the sale of valuable public property to a family member, up to the grotesque $60,000 event of the mysteriously mistaken box of chocolate.

How would such events be dealt with under a Cambodian anti-corruption law, due to be adopted by the National Assembly since a decade ago? If actions of corruption are committed in combination with political ones, are they then no longer subject to criminal prosecution?

There were several rumors and denials – that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra would fly together with the Cambodian Prime Minister to the APEC meetings in Singapore.

Surprising also, that the Cambodian Prime Minister compared him to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. In an interview with Times Online, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said: “There are some similarities there, but not really everything. The similarity is we won elections, we rule the countries. We’ve been ousted by the coup d’etat and we come from the people. We are democratically elected leaders and we come from the majority of the people – a big majority, not just a small majority. She’s under house arrest, I’ve been kicked out of the country.”

The Cambodian government has never found such strong critical words against the ruling military in Myanmar. Will the Cambodian government also accept such advice and change its position? The statement “I’ve been kicked out of the country” contrasts with the fact that the self imposed exile abroad started with breaking bail arrangements with the Thai law enforcement authorities, traveling abroad without the promised return.

But the invitation to Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser may lead to a second kind of controversies.

Press reports in Cambodia were not enthusiastic about his speech in front of 300 selected economists. The Cambodian Daily said that his address “primarily dealt in generalities and contained little that Cambodian economists will not already know.” Not only that: Some of his advice runs contrary to some of the traditional approaches of Cambodian economic practice.

Thakshin Sinawatra became the favorite politician among a majority of the rural population in Thailand because of his new policy of favoring them directly, with debt relief and village loan funds administered by the local communities themselves. The revenue of the public and the private sector should, first of all, be directed towards the poorest sector of society, is his advice. Large scale land leasings to big companies in favorable relation with the government, leading to considerable groups of the rural population losing their land, coming to demonstrate in Phnom Penh, asking for justice, as happens so frequently in Cambodia, are not compatible which the vision of Thaksin Shinawatra’s economic policies.

Surprising is also his emphasis on the need of reconciliation and good neighborliness between Cambodia and Thailand, in order to foster Cambodia’s economic development, including the promotion of Thailand and Cambodia together for international tourism, presenting themselves as a “joint destination.” This runs against many recent antagonistic trends: the Thai government had proposed to submit Preah Vihear together with the Cambodian government to the World Heritage Committee, which was flatly rejected by the Cambodian side. During the last year there were even plans discussed in Cambodia to create an international airport 500 meters below the mountain range where Preah Vihear is situated, which is conveniently accessible from the north, from Thailand. This plan, to exclude the natural access to Preah Vihear – and therefore tourism via Thailand, was soon given up again as economically completely unreal. The public outcry some years ago, when Bangkok Airways had named one of its airplanes Angkor Wat – while other planes are named according to other international destinations, promoting tourism to these places – has no place in this context. The Cambodian Daily reported his emphasis on the need for cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia, as the two countries’ economic fortunes are inextricably linked – adding: “Of course, not all my compatriots see it that way right now.” Those who see it differently in Thailand are assumed to suffer from being shortsighted, driven by false patriotism.

One may ask whether the anti-Thai actions of 2003, when the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh was ransacked because of a baseless rumor, resulting in further arson so that the hardware damage alone of that night was estimated at US$56 million, and the tensions before and after the designation of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site, would also fall under a similar verdict by Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that a false patriotism is in the way also in some of the Cambodian attitudes and actions.

It is surprising to consider how future suggestions of the new economic adviser of the Cambodian government will be handled, while land conflicts in rural areas continue, further large scale leasings of land are under consideration inviting countries from the Middle East to start agro-business ventures, and Japanese companies are considering to create new large tree planting schemes in Cambodia.

Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s suggestions may not only be unwelcome in his own country. They run counter to major trends of present day Cambodian big business.

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Petro Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – Saturday, 14.11.2009

Posted on 16 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

Apologies for the delays, which may continue into the coming week, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation, which is part of the Vietnam Oil And Gas Group, signed an agreement on oil exploration in Block 15 (XV) in the evening of 12 November 2009 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh.

“The ceremony was organized under the presidency of the Minister of the Council of Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, by the head of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and by a Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Hoàng Trung Hải [Hoang Trung Hai].

“This agreement was signed by Mr. Sok An and by director of the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation General Director of Petro Vietnam Exploration and Production Corporation Nguyễn Vũ Trường Sơn [Nguyen Vu Truong Son].

“The deputy director of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, Mr. Ho Vichet, said that the oil sector in Cambodia attracts the attention from many international oil companies to invest in it. Practically, some companies have been offered the right to study and to explore oil in Cambodia both in the sea and on land. Positive results of oil exploration in the Cambodian sea in Block A resulted in trust about the existence of oil resources both in the sea and on land in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“Mr. Ho Vichet added that so far, the government has offered oil companies the right to study and explore all oil blocks, and each company is fulfilling their tasks at their respective blocks, following the agreements. Also, there are some companies signing agreements on inland oil on with the Royal Government of Cambodia and others are continually following up to invest also in the fields at those blocks that still remain unexplored.

“The head of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, Mr. Đinh La Thăng [Dinh La Thang], said that this is a new breaking of a record regarding cooperation in the field of oil exploration between the two countries. Block 15 is located at the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in the Cambodian inland, where oil availability is estimated for 30 years, and gas availability for 35 years, and the exploration will take 7 years.

“As for Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, he said that the signing of an oil agreement for Block 15 is the fist cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam in the oil sector, which is being considered by the Vietnamese government as potential sector to encourage economic development, and to ensure energy stability in the country. ‘The signing today marks a better cooperation between the two countries.’

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said that this agreement will provide a lot of benefits, like human resources development, exchange of experience in the oil sector, creation of new jobs, income which contributes to achieving success for the goals of the Royal Government to develop the economy and the society, as well to reduce poverty. ‘I consider the event today as a new testimony which clearly demonstrates a long term development of traditional, historical, and strategic relations inherited between the people of Cambodia and the people of Vietnam, especially by strengthening economic cooperation and of investment in the private sector.’

“The Deputy Prime Minister added that to successfully develop the oil and gas sectors, Cambodia necessarily needs joint cooperation in investment with highly experienced and successful companies. He said, ‘In this sense, I would like to highly assess the right decision of the Petro Vietnam, and I would like to express my appreciation towards the Vietnamese leader and government for encouraging and supporting investment projects in Cambodia. The ceremony today is not only a sign of a new success in good cooperation between the two countries, but I think it is also the opening in a broader sense for further investments between Cambodia and Vietnam. The Royal Government of Cambodia always supports and encourages different companies in Vietnam that are operating and plan to invest in Cambodia.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

  • Petr Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Summit on Food Security [from 16 to 17 November 2009 in Rome, Italy]
  • [Head of the Cambodia Red-Cross and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Bun Rany Will Receive an HIV/AIDS Leadership Award from UNAIDS [on 17 November 2009 for her noticeable leadership in the battle against HIV in Cambodia and in the region]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2098, 14.11.2009

  • The Special Paratrooper Brigade 911 Was Withdrawn from the Preah Vihear Border Region
  • On 17 November 2009, There Will Be an ASEAN-Japan Security Exercise at the Sihanoukville Port
    The A/H1N1 Flu Killed Already 3,900 US Citizens

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #529, 14.11.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Cambodian Authorities Listen to Yuon [Vietnam] to Suspend His Immunity
  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Has Not Been Seen to Go to Meet with the Khmer King [after he was named advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of the government]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Said that the [Thai] Embassy in Cambodia Is Not Closed, and He Does Not React against the Expulsion of the First Secretary [of the Thai Embassy] from Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6805, 14-15.11.2009

  • Puea Thai [opposition] Party Delegation Came through the Poipet Border Crossing to Meet Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Siem Reap
  • Thaksin Shinawatra: In Order to Have Further Development, the Focus Must Be on Agriculture and Tourism, for Which a Clean Environment is important, and High Security Is Required for Tourists [speaking to Cambodian economists]
  • Cambodia and Laos Signed an Agreement to Exchange International Telecommunication Services [to connect international phone services directly to each other, as well as to other countries in the region]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5047, 14.11.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [other ASEAN countries] Not to Raise the Cambodian-Thai Dispute during the ASEAN-US Summit
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asked for a Delay of the Session to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [on 16 November on the ground that the complaint of the Svay Rieng Court over his participation to remove temporary border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is not a civil case, but a territorial complaint]

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The Cambodian Prime Minister: China Becomes the Constructor of the Longest Sections of Roads in Cambodia – Friday, 13.11.2009

Posted on 15 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

Apologies for the delays, which may continue into the coming week, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Stung Treng: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that China becomes the country that has constructed the most roads in Cambodia, sections of road of more than 1,500 km, which had been constructed, are being constructed, or are planned to be constructed. Moreover, China has provided loans to construct bridges with a total length of 3,014 meters, for which in total more than US$800 million have been offered for road construction and more than US$100 million for building bridges. Besides, there are hydro-electric projects in some provinces with 700 megawatt power, costing approx. US$1.7 billion.

“Samdech Dekchor said so during the launching of a construction site on National Road 78 in the morning of 12 November 2009: ‘The site to construct and to restore National Road 78, starting at 121 km from Ou Pong Moan in Stung Treng, to Ban Lung in Ratanakiri, is to be covered by red gravel, 6 meter wide; it was started with a loan from the People’s Republic of China, also with 5% contributed by the Royal Government.

“The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, stated that the construction of this road will take 40 months, the width will be broadened to 11 meters, it will be paved according to the Double Bituminous Surface Treatment, following the 3rd standard of China, with 13 bridges of together 903 meters, and 126 culverts. It will cost US$73.3 million, to be paid by a loan provided by the People’s Republic of China, together with a 5% share from the Royal Government of Cambodia. But this amount does not cover expense for taxes, the state’s burden importing materials and other means for the construction, and for clearing mines and unexploded ordnance along the road.

“The National Road 78 branches off from the National Road 7 in Ou Pong Moan in Stung Treng, leading to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. But a another portion of National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav is being constructed with a loan from Vietnam, and has already been finished 90%.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that National Road 78 has the characteristic of serving for both internal and regional integration. This road contributes to provide advantages for integration in the country as well as connecting to economic centers in Stung Treng and Ratanakiri, in order to encourage economic and social development in Cambodia, to reduce the gap between the urban and the rural areas. It also helps to promote the livelihood of citizens in the Northeast through facilitating transport, commerce, the exchange of agricultural products, and industry, and to encourage cooperation and development in the triangle zone of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, through the Ou Ya Dav boarder crossing in Ratanakiri and through the connection of National Road 7, which is the Asian Road 11, from Vientiane in Laos to the Sihanoukville International Port. In addition, National Road 78 serves nature tourism, because the Northeast is a green area, rich in beautiful big lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and forest. It is also rich in many types of mineral resources and fertile soil that is favorable for agro-industrial crops, where rubber trees are prioritized.

“On behalf of the Royal Government and the Cambodia people, Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor expressed great gratitude towards the Chinese people and the Chinese government for assisting and supporting Cambodia. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that among the 11 road construction projects of more than 1,200 km that will be subsequently opened in 2010, including the roads that the government builds by its own resources, as many as 7 projects are implemented with Chinese loans.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen encouraged the Shanghai Construction Company and the Kwang Ju Vanan [? – phonetic] technical monitoring consultancy to take good care of the implementation to construct the crucial National Road 78, so that is has the quality compatible with the technical standards, and so that it is finished as planned or before the deadline.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5046, 13.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #33531.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Denied the Information that [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Go to Singapore [with Prime Minister Hun Sen, to attend the ASEAN-US summit]
  • A Red-Shirt Group [of about 50 people] Came to Meet Thaksin Shinawatra at the Siem Reap Airport
  • A Man Led a Young Woman to a Restaurant but Was Shot Dead by an Anonymous Person [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2097, 13.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Is Glad to Share Economic Knowledge with Cambodian Officials [he spoke to more than 300 Cambodian economic experts at the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • A [44 year-old] Man Raped His 84-Year Old Mother until She Fainted [he was arrested – Svay Rieng]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #774, 13.11.2009

  • [Former Koh Kong Governor] Yuth Phouthang Was Appointed as a Government Advisor with a Position Equal to a Minister, while [Minister of Defense] Tea Banh’s Connections Expand their Influence in Koh Kong [the Srae Ambel district governor, Mr. Bun Leut, was named Koh Kong governor – Mr. Tea Banh was born in Koh Kong]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #528, 13.11.2009

  • The Complaint and the Intention to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity Are Politics to Threaten and to Restrict this Opposition Party [according to the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovan]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6804, 13.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Announced that in the Session on 16 November 2009 Next Week It Is Planned to Suspend the Immunity of [the president of the opposition party] Sam Rainsy [to make way for the Svay Rieng Municipal Court to open an investigation regarding his participation in the removal of six teamporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]
  • The Political Dispute between Bangkok and Phnom Penh Is Tense, while the Military Situation at Preah Vihear Is Not

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #45, 13.11.2009

  • The Authorities Provide More Than 20,000 of Forest Land to Citizens in Kompong Thom [for conservation and for serving everyday living]
  • Kampot Citizens Chased Vietnamese Fishing Boats Away [that used illegal fishing tools in Khmer maritime region, while the local authorities do not care about it]
  • Russia Will Invest in Hydro-Electricity in Stung Treng [approx. US$2 billion to create 1,000 megawatt capacity; according to the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5046, 13.11.2009

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister: China Becomes the Constructor of the Longest Sections of Roads in Cambodia
  • A Siamese [Thai] Engineer [of the Cambodia Air Traffic Control company] [since 2000 Cambodian air traffic contral is operated as a Joint Venture with a private Thai company] Was Arrested for Stealing Documents about the Flights of Thaksin Shinawatra and of Samdech Hun Sen, to Send Them to Siam [Thailand]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Wants Cambodia to Advertise Jointly to Encourage Tourism in Thailand, Laos, and Burma

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Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time – Thursday, 12.11.2009

Posted on 13 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638 – Thursday, 12.11.2009

“Phnom Penh: The first Cambodian-Indian commercial and investment exhibition in Phnom Penh is being organized with the participation of 20 Indian companies.

“The Minister of Commerce, Senior Minister Cham Prasidh, stated during the launching of the exhibition on 11 November 2009 that it is the first time that both countries organize an exhibition to help investors and businesspeople from both countries to understand each other better.

“He said, ‘This is the greatest opportunity for Indian investors and businesspeople to seek investment opportunities and markets in Cambodia.’

“According to Mr. Cham Prasidh, the trade between Cambodia and India amounts to about US$56.32 million, where Indian imports of products from Cambodia is only US$2.87 million, while the exports of India to Cambodia are US$56.32 million.

“Based on these figures, Mr. Cham Prasidh said that the amount of this commercial relation is still low, and he encouraged both countries to try to study further market exchange possibilities, in order to strengthen and improve the commercial ties.

“The Indian Ambassador to Cambodia said that Indian investors from 21 companies attend this exhibition. Most companies are companies from the fields of information technology, medicine, industry and mines, machinery, agriculture, engineering, and infrastructure.

“He added that this exhibition will be held for two days from 11 to 12 November 2009.

“By now, the products Cambodia imports from India are agricultural products, medicines, and some raw chemicals, and Cambodia exports also some raw materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #334, 12.11.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [newly named personal adviser of Prime Minister Hun Sen] Will Attend the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [with the participation of US President Obama on 15 November 2009]
  • The Downgrading of the Cambodian-Siamese [Thai] Diplomatic Relations Does Not Affect Cambodian Tourism
  • Jackie Chan [The Chinese and Hollywood superstar] Will Return to Cambodia for Filming [he arrived at Cambodia as a UNICEF/UNAIDS goodwill ambassador on 10 November 2009, and promised he will come back again]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2096, 12.11.2009

  • The Thai Embassy Sent a Letter to Request for Extradition of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and Khmer Officials Sent the Diplomatic Note Back to Reject This [the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, reacted to this by ordering a review of all agreements with Cambodia]
  • Cambodia Welcomes Negotiations with Thailand [to solve border and other diplomatic disputes], but Thaksin Shinawatra’s Case Should Not Be on the Agenda [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Raped a Woman Who Suffers from Mental Disorder [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #673, 12.11.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Hold a Meeting Immediately and Confidentially This Morning about the Suspension of the Immunity of Sam Rainsy [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party; as the Svay Rieng Municipal Court filed a complaint against him because of his participation in the removal of six temporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #527, 12.11.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Asked Cambodia to Arrest Thaksin Shinawatra Temporarily, but [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Rejected It

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6803, 12.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: From Now on Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Can Come to Cambodia Anytime Openly
  • Extradition Rejection: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Rejected the Request from the Thai Embassy to Arrest Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra [considering Mr. Thaksin’s case to be political
  • The Municipal Court Decided to Detain a Jordanian Woman and Two Turkish Women for Stealing and Collusion [in a restaurant in Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

  • Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time
  • There Might Not Be an Opportunity of a Meeting between Hun Sen and Abhisit Vijjajiva during the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [Prime Minister Hun Sen said he will go there only to attend the summit]
  • The Situation at the Cambodian-Thai Border Is Quiet
  • The Acid Attack on [the former actress] In Soklida’s Aunt [where the Municipal Court had ruled to dropt the charges against the former national military police officer, Ms. Chea Ratha and her accomplices] Will Be Brought for another Hearing to the Court of Appeals Again on 27 November 2009
  • A Motorbike Hit a Truck Transporting Cows, Resulting in Two Deaths and One Injury under the Prek Tnot Bridge [Phnom Penh]

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Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law – Wednesday, 11.11.2009

Posted on 12 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: A Source from the Thai News Agency (TNA) said on Tuesday that the Thai parliament decided to cancel a Cambodian-Thai memorandum of understanding, but senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia consider this as only a dream of people who do not know the law.

“According to a report from TNA published on Tuesday, 10 November 2009, the [Thai] parliament decided to terminate a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, signed in 2001. This decision was made after the Kingdom of Cambodia recently decided [by Prime Minister Hun Sen and a Royal decree] to appoint the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, as an economic adviser of the Royal Government and of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

TNA said that the Thai parliament decided to officially cancel the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Thai former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Surakiart Sathirathai, and the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, on 14 June 2001, though there has be no improvement at all within the eight years since it became valid.

“The head of the National Border Committee, Senior Minister Va Kimhong, spoke during a press conference held in the morning of 10 November 2009 at the Council of Ministers, where he said that the Memorandum of Understanding was agreed upon between the Royal Governments of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia about the overlapping zones at the seabed of the two countries in 2001. He added that the aims of this 2001 Memorandum of Understanding are:

  1. To seek an agreement for a treaty about overlapping zones; and
  2. To explicitly demarcate the sea border between Cambodia and Thailand.

“The Senior Minister explained the cause how these overlapping emerged, saying that because Cambodia drew a line in 1972, while Thailand also designated its seabed in 1973, so this overlapping zones emerged. The government had sought to negotiate since 1970 and 1971 to find a solution at the region of the later overlapping zones. He went on to say, ‘In fact, we again started negotiations since 1995 with a Deputy Prime Minister as the head of the negotiations at that time, during the first term of the Royal Government, but the talks failed, and only in 1999, 2000, and 2001, there came a situation to sign that Memorandum of Understanding. Its major goal was to agree to develop those overlapping zones, as well as to clearly demarcate the sea border.’

“A Source from [the Thai well known newspaper] The Nation said that recently, yellow shirt demonstrators [supporters of the current Thai government] of the Thai People’s Alliance for Democracy had submitted 11 documents, detailing the agreement between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, asking their Royal Government to check, and to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding. On Tuesday, the parliament of the Kingdom of Thailand decided to send this request to cancel this Memorandum of Understanding into the parliament for discussion and approval.

“Responding to questions of journalists about the intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, Senior Minister Va Kimhong said that this canceling is only a dream of a group of people who do not know the law, and if Thailand had people with knowledge about the law, it would have been impossible to decide as they did.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #333, 11.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia, and [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Welcomed Him with Most Friendly Greeting, as Gestures for an Eternal Friend
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Sent [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Letter to Three Samdechs [Samdech Hun Sen, Samdech Heng Samrin – the president of the National Assembly, and Samdech Chea Sim – the president of the Senate], related to the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [Mr. Sam Rainsy’s letter claimed there were irregularities when the border markers were set]
  • An Exclusive Rice Import Company from Singapore [“ALM”] Comes to Cooperate with the Golden Rice Association of Cambodia [to invest in rice cultivation in Cambodia for export to Singapore]
  • The Russian Government Is Considering to Cancel the US$1.5 Billion Debt That Cambodia Owes [according to high ranking officials of the National Assembly that have just returned from a visit to Russia which Mr. Heng Samrin led]
  • Typhoon Ketsana Caused a Loss of US$140 Million [there were 43 deaths, 67 serious injuries, and 22,800 families lost their homes – according to the National Disaster Management Committee]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

  • Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law
  • In one Week Indonesia Will Exhibit Its Products in Cambodia [at the Mondial Center in Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #672, 11.11.2009

  • Nine Types of Special Food Was Prepared to Welcome Thaksin Shinawatra, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Eternal Friend, when He Arrived in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 11.11.2009

  • Only Now the Government Discovers that Many Appointments Did Not Create Any Tasks to Do, and Waste National Resources

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6802, 11.11.2009

  • The Thai Parliament Meeting Had Disputes and Disagreements during the Discussion about the Intention to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about [maritime] Borders
  • Cambodia Welcomes Thaksin Shinawatra, while the Thai Deputy Prime Minister Announced that There Is No Plan to Close the Cambodian-Thai Border Crossings
  • Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [a Burmese elected democracy leader] Might Be Released for the 2010 Elections [according to the general director of the Ministry of Interior of Burma, Mr. Min Lwin]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #43, 11.11.2009

  • Cambodian-Thai Relations Became Tenser when Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia; Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Said, “I Do Not Come Here to Help Cambodia against Thailand”
  • The Authorities Prevented [24] Students [from different universities in Phnom Penh and in Svay Rieng] to Visit the Border in Svay Rieng [at the point where Mr. Sam Rainsy was accused of removing border markers; they claimed they had received high-level officials’ order]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5044, 11.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra [and former Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat] Landed in Cambodia in His Own Plane, and He Will Stay in Cambodia Two to Three Days;
  • Reactions Were Expressed against the Presence of Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Human Rights Party claimed that the presence of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia does not help the government with anything, but it will step up further tension between the Cambodian and Thai governments; however, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed it will help Cambodia’s economy]
  • POSCO E&C [a leading construction company from South Korea] Inaugurated an Occupational Safety Section for the Construction of High Rise Buildings along the River [it plans to construct one 45-storey building and two 42-storey buildings behind the Russian Embassy along the Basak River, worth about US$300 million – Phnom Penh]

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The Government Cuts Salaries of Advisers – Tuesday, 10.11.2009

Posted on 11 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: According to a circular of the Royal Government, the government decided to cut the salaries of all newly and continually appointed advisers who earn high salaries, advisers to high ranking officials, to receive only the normal amount in order to save state resources.

“The circular signed by the Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, on 27 October 2009, said that the Royal Government instructed all ministries and institutions to reorganize salaries for all advisers who have been offered equivalent positions, starting from under secretary of state upwards, to earn only the normal salaries of their current main positions.

“In the circular, the government noticed that previously, the Royal Government has nominated some officials as personal advisors of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, of deputy prime ministers, or of the Royal Government of Cambodia… by providing them with equivalent positions besides their current positions, and those officials situations are administered so that they earn salaries through their new, additional positions an additional higher amount than they continue to get already in their current positions. The circular added that the current economy, which is encountering difficulties due to the impact from the global economic crisis, requires the government to take measure to save state resources, and therefore, it is necessary to cut the salaries of those advisers, so that all receive normal salaries.

“According to an informed source, there are at least 30 to 40 officials continually appointed as advisers of high ranking officials at each ministry. Some have only a position as head of an office, or deputy head of a department, or as head of a department, but they have also been nominated as advisors with positions equivalent to an under-secretary of state, or as secretary of state. Some ministers even hold also positions as senior ministers. Through such appointments, those officials receive also salaries from those new, additional positions, for example: an under-secretary of state receives a salary of about Riel 1.04 million [approx. US$260], and a minister Riel 1.5 million [approx. US$375]. Now, the Royal Government changes this so as to save state resources.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #332, 10.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Show Up for the First Time in Cambodia after He Has Been Named Adviser [he plans to give a lecture to 300 economists on 12 November 2009]
  • Economists: Siam [Thailand] Will Experience Great Loss if It Tries to Close Border Crossing with Cambodia [because Thai exports to Cambodia amounted US$2 billion in 2008, while Cambodian exports was only US$90 million]
  • The Khmer King Will Go to Japan in 2010 [following an invitation of the Japanese emperor to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cambodian-Japanese friendship; and the Japanese Prime Minister invited also Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, General Hun Manet, to visit Japan]
  • China Provides US$10 Billion in Loans to Africa

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2093-2094, 8-10.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodian-Thai Dispute Is a Dispute between [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [but not between nation and nation]
  • ASEAN Friends Are Worried about the Cambodian-Thai Diplomatic Dispute [the ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, appealed to both countries to be patient and to address the dispute peacefully]
  • Construction Workers Demand Legal Protection through Legislation on Working Conditions [some workers working at present at various construction sites have not been provided with health and safety protection]
  • A Man Infected His Wife with AIDS Who Then Died, but He then Raped His Eldest Daughter, Infecting Her with AIDS Also [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A 14-Year-Old Boy Rapped a 4-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Kandal]
  • Germany Celebrated the [20th] Anniversary of the Breakdown of the Berlin Wall [on 9 November 2009]

 
Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #670-671, 9-10.11.2009

  • Cambodia Celebrated the 56th Independence Day Anniversary [on 9 November 2009] while the [Director General of National Police] Hok Lundy’s Family [on 8 November 2009] Celebrated the One-Year Ceremony of His Death [in a helicopter crash]
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Withdrawal of Some Troops from Preah Vihear, as Thaksin Shinawatra Plans to Come to Cambodia on 12 November 2009

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 9.11.2009

  • A Parliamentarian [from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay] Asked [the president of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin to Create a Special Committee for Khmer Border Affairs

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6800-6801, 9-10.11.2009

  • The 56th National Independence Day Anniversary is Celebrated during the Era of the Second Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive at Cambodia on 12 November; Samdech Dekchor: If Thailand Closes Border Crossing, Cambodia Will Announce to Stop Importing Thai Products [Mr. Thaksin arrived already on 9.11.2009 in a private jet at the Phnom Penh Air Force Base]
  • Result from the Mekong-Japan Summit [in Tokyo]: Japan Continues to Help to Develop Sihanoukville Port and to Construct Neak Loeang Bridge [in Prey Veng, on the way to Vietnam]
  • The Garment Sector, Which Depends Much on Export, Declined by 24.5% due to the Economic Crisis [60,000 workers lost their jobs – according to the Ministry of Commerce]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #41-42, 9-10.11.2009

  • The Opposition Party Asked the Government to Explain the Tense Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand at the National Assembly
  • Cambodia Will Receive A/H1N1 Vaccines at the End of This Year [from the World Health Organization]
  • Cambodia Is a Place where Freedom of All Religions Is Freely Practiced without Discrimination [according to the 2009 assessment report of the US Department of State; 93% of the Khmer citizens adhere to Buddhism, 500,000 to 700,000 citizens adhere to Islam, and more than 282,000 adhere to Christianity]
  • The Demand of Energy [from coal, natural, gas, fosil fuel, and oil] Increases by 3.7% Each Year [from 2005 to 2030; according to the Asian Development Bank and APEC, the demand of energy of Cambodia will increase from 4.8 million tonnes in 2015 to 12 million tonnes in 2030; at present, only 20% of the Cambodian families have access to public electricity]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

  • The Government Cuts the Salaries of Advisers
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive in Cambodia Today as Thailand Warned to Take More Serious Actions
  • Japan Pledged to Provide US$5.5 Billion [in loans and grant aid] to the Mekong River Countries [to save them from the impacts of the global economic crisis]
  • Three Suspects Were Arrested for Kidnapping a Boy for US$3,000 [Kratie]
  • The Number of Deaths Worldwide by the A/H1N1 Flu Has Increased to 6,000

.

I will be departing Phnom Penh in the evening of 10 November 2009 to
participate in the UN Internet Govenrnance Forum in Sharm-el-Sheikh in
Egypt.

Apologies ahead of time – there will be some delays in the
publications, while I travel and are busy in a different time zone.

Norbert Klein – editor of the Mirror

.

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Independence Day – Monday, 9.11.2009

Posted on 10 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

National holidays are not all the same. We are just behind the Water Festival which brings big crowds from the provinces to the capital city for several days. This year, 391 boats had been registered to participate in the boat racing, and 6,500 police were prepared to keep things organized and safe.

And there were special health concerns – more than in other years, because of the danger of A/H1N1 virus infections, and the Communicable Disease Control Department of Ministry of Health had prepared 500,000 leaflets with information and advice how to protect oneself from this disease – “covering up cough and wash hands among others” – as well as, as every year, from HIV/AIDS, for which the Population Service International’s 1,000 volunteers were to distribute 250,000 condoms during the three days of the Water Festival.

A big, traditional event where up to a million people from all provinces participate.

Quite different: Independence Day. Everybody knows the Independence Monument, the landmark at the crossing or the Norodom and the Sihanouk Boulevards. But Independence Day? Talking to people, one gets the understandable impression that this is an “official” holiday for people in public office and politics, but as for real life, it is something from the distant past.

“Cambodian Independence day today? That is just another holiday. Not bad.”

But it is interesting that Cambodians abroad also celebrate it – like the Cambodian community in Lowell in the USA, and a group of Cambodian students in Japan:

“Gathering the Cambodian community at our university for an Independence Day Celebration! Cheers to all Cambodians! Cheers for the independence of Cambodia from French colonization!”

Distance changes the perspective with which one sees things, and even fosters closeness.

We close with the text from a foreign newspaper – the Manila Bulletin from the Philippines – sending not only formal congratulations for the day, but being interested in and recapitulating Cambodian relations in a friendly way:

Kingdom of Cambodia National Day

The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates its National Day on 9 November, Monday. On this day in 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk declared the country’s independence from French colonial rule.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Cambodia were formally established in 1957.

Although our relations were affected by the Khmer rouge regime in 1975, the Philippines and Cambodia have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the reopening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999. The two countries have concluded agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation.

Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004 and attended the inaugural East Asia Summit in 2005.

Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, and Russia. As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure needs.

We congratulate the people and government of the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni, and H. E. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and its Embassy in the Philippines led by Ambassador In May, on the occasion of their National Day.

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