Week 647

Patterns to Guide Reforms – “Starfish” or “Spiders”? – Sunday, 17.1.2010

Posted on 18 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

Any regular observer of the media in Cambodia knows that in spite of all the positive developments, since 7 January 1997 (the end of the Khmer Rouge regime), since the time of the UNTAC administration 1992/1993, and since the establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is a variety of different, sometimes opposing interpretations or observations of what has happened.

This is normal in any society. And for the political world of the Kingdom of Cambodia, this state of affairs is also confirmed to be appropriate by the Constitution which says in its Preamble:

“…to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory…”

This describes a process: “to restore” means that the goal is not yet reached. But how to reach it, when even the understanding of what is going on at present is so divergent?

From the past week, we present an example of such conflicting views:

11.1.2010:
Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions
…the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities…

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.

And a response:

12.1.2010:

An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be announced to the authorities in advance]

To have different views is not a surprise. But this poses the question about the methods to reach solutions. There are different models: to impose an intended goal to be reached – or to try to work out a consensus among those involved and affected. The Constitution clearly favors the latter method:

Article 35:

  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall be given the right to participated actively in the political , economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
  • Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State

Article 51:

  • The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
  • The Cambodian people are the masters of their country.
  • All powers belong to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
  • The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial powers shall be separated.

While it is clear who is the master of the country – the people – how this works out – through the National Assembly, the Royal Government, and the Judiciary – is an ongoing dynamic process which also includes differences and conflicts of opinion, as is normal in a pluralistic liberal democratic society.

It is interesting that more recent sociological research shows that in modern societies, there are more and more movements and events happening without central leadership at the top, but in a decentralized way, which makes it also more and more difficult to control them centrally.

A bestselling book in the USA analyzes such trends – co-authored by the former director of the National Cyber Security Center of the USA who is now president of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN – the organization that monitors and coordinates the highly decentralized operations of the Internet – under the title The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (originally it had been planned to be published as “The Decentralized Revolution”):

 Starfish and the Spider

The Starfish and the Spider

IT’S A STARFISH WORLD AND MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication – around ideologies like Al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

Source: The Starfish and the Spider, by Brafman and Beckstrom, Portfolio Hardcover (October 5, 2006), ISBN-10: 1591841437

Does this insight also have a meaning for the future of Cambodia? Will it move towards more and more centralized power – or will the decentralization and deconcentration process, operated as part of the administrative reforms, get more weight? A statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior from 2005 seems to aim at this for the structures of public administration, when he says:

“In this regard, the provincial/municipal governor is not the controller of commune/Sangkat. Rather, the provincial/municipal governor plays the role of a facilitator and coordinator to support communes/Sangkats.”

But the process, documented in the independent news website K7, is dragging on – naturally – very long, some say too slowly – though moving into the right direction.

The vision of the starfish, the aspirations of the organized civil society, and “the people” tend, of course, to move sometimes faster, and further, and into directions that cannot be foreseen.

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Rice Export Is Still Difficult – Saturday, 16.1.2010

Posted on 17 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2009 there was a surplus of more than 3 million tonnes of paddy rice or more than 2 million tonnes of rice. In 2010, just the Philippines alone need to buy in 2 million tonnes of rice, and other African countries need to buy rice also. Is Cambodia ready for exporting rice abroad?

“Regarding this problem, an expert, who was involved in marketing to help export rice, said that Cambodia still cannot export rice on a large scale. Family-scale export is possible, as our country is not yet ready to do big rice businesses.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale business, Mr. Ut Ren, spoke to journalists in an interview on Wednesday [13 January 2010], saying that Cambodia is not yet able to export rice on a large scale, because Cambodia does not yet have an adequate rice export structure. He added that the country does not yet have large scale storehouses for paddy rice. A rice milling house can normally store 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes, but these too hardly exist in Phnom Penh. There has not yet been an effort to gather all forces together. Most small rice export associations operate to serve only their own interest and they do not cooperate and trust each other, and there is no coordination between the state and the private sector. Also the costs of transportation is still high, compared to neighboring countries. In Vietnam, it costs only US$7 to US$12 to transport one tonne of rice to the ports, but in our country, it costs up to US$40 to US$50. Transport is possible only in the dry season, but not in the rainy season. There is much more investment needed before smooth export procedures are possible. In addition, to get a container loaded with rice to be exported, one needs to pay unofficial expenses of at least US$55 to customs, US$55 to CamControl, and US$30 for one document to the Ministry of Agriculture. Besides, it is necessary to pay US$50 to the Ministry of Commerce for a license.

“Mr. Ren added that in addition, our country does not have marketing experts at international markets. Vietnam has rice market advertising offices in the Philippines and in Africa. Thailand has more than 40 market advertising offices worldwide.

“He went on to say that therefore, to become a rice exporting country, first, Cambodia needs to have a rice export support structure. Rice export has its special criteria, unlike the export of other products. The government should create a separate high level authority to guide the export of rice. The government should implement a integrated structure policy, that means that customs, CamControl, the agriculture and the commerce related authorities have to work jointly. At present, when a rice exporter has received a license from the Ministry of Commerce, they need to go next to customs, then to CamControl, and then to those in the agricultural areas having rice to sell – this takes much time.

“He said that because of existing difficulties, high costs, and much time needed to run from place to place [to satisfy the related bureaucratic necessities], owners of rice mills still prefer their traditional family-scale businesses.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5101, 16.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #389, 16.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister [Mr. Hun Sen] Sent Condolences for the Large Number of [ earthquake] Deaths in Haiti

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2152, 16.1.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep’s Accusation that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Takes Cambodia as a Basis for Activities against Thailand
  • Cambodian Citizens Can Have Visas-on-Arrival to Enter Kuwait Directly at Kuwait Airports [according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]

Link:

On 14 January 2010, many international media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again. “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month,” reported Radio Australia News.

On 15 January 2010, the Bangkok Post quoted Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a former Thai minister of foreign affairs and at present a legal adviser to the Shinawatra family, saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has dropped his plan to visit Cambodia.

“Previously, Thaksin had planned to visit Cambodia from Jan 15 to 17, but he has scrapped the plan. He will visit another country in Asia instead,” Mr Noppadon said.

Asked about the Cambodian foreign minister’s statement that Thaksin would visit Phnom Penh this month, Mr Noppadon said he had no idea.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #581, 16.1.2010

  • [High ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party] Cheam Yeap Admitted that Cambodia Is in Trouble with Its Debt to Russia [Cambodia owes about US$1 billion; and Russia has not responded to Cambodia’s request to cancel it]

Link:

In addition to the US$1 billion debt to Russia there is a smaller debt of US$300 million which Cambodia owes to the USA.

It should be noted that reports about new financial assistance from China often do not state clearly what is aid, and what is repayable loans. We do not know of any comprehensive listing of the total amount of money at present owed by Cambodia to China, and when how much will have to be repaid.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6859, 16-17.1.2010

  • A Nine-Year-Old Girl Was Raped and Killed in a Forest [the perpetrator is not known – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5001, 16.1.2010

  • Rice Export Is Still Difficult
  • In 2010 Cambodia Will Have Three More Labor Export Markets [accepting Khmer workers: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates]

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Citizens held Five Vietnamese People Suspected of Entering to Log Illegally in Khmer Territory, but the Authorities Released Them – Friday, 15.1.2010

Posted on 16 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Citizens in a community in Mondolkiri held five Vietnamese people who came to cut trees illegally, but the authorities released them. Regarding this case, citizens suspect that the authorities colluded with the Vietnamese people, because when they arrived at the site, to their surprise, they threatened the Khmer citizens.

“Ms. Khan Chany, a citizen in the community of Bu Sra commune, Pechr Chenda district, Mondolkiri, spoke to Deum Ampil, saying that on 13 January 2010 at around 11:00 a.m., citizens in the community went into the forest of the community and found five Vietnamese people cutting trees illegally in the forest; they had also a tractor.

“She added that after holding those Vietnamese people, the citizens informed the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Mondolkiri prosecutor, but four or five persons from the authorities, whom the citizens assumed coming from Military Unit 8, came to release the Vietnamese; furthermore, they threatened to kill the Khmer citizens involved in this event.

“Another citizen, Klan Sin, said that the citizens do not know why the authorities released those Vietnamese people. He requested the government to quickly intervene in this case in order to protect the forests of Mondolkiri.

“An ADHOC official in Mondolkiri, Mr. Chhay Thy, told Deum Ampil on 14 January 2010 that this case shows an irregularity. ‘Therefore, national investigators should come to check, because what these citizens encountered is the truth, and the collusion to release those Vietnamese people is illegal.’

“The Mondolkiri prosecutor, Mr. Im Sophan, rejected this claim, saying that he came directly to the site and did not see anything. He does not know where the authorities took those Vietnamese people.

“It should be noted that this is the first time that citizens in the community of Bu Sra commune, Pechr Chenda district, held five Vietnamese people, and those citizens claimed that illegal logging frequently happens in that area.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #388, 15.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 15 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #388, 15.1.2010

  • Citizens held Five Vietnamese People Suspected of Entering to Log Illegally in Khmer Territory, but the Authorities Released Them
  • The Ministry of Interior Rejected a Request of the Opposition Party to Visit [two] Suspects Charged of Removing Temporary Border Markers

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2151, 15.1.2010

  • The Number of Deaths from the Earthquake in Haiti Might Increase Up to More Than 100,000

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #580, 15.1.2010

  • The Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of Yuon [Vietnam] Grabbing It Did Not Dare to Talk to Journalists but Cried [the Council of Ministers issued a statement saying that the land they claim does not belong to them]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6858, 15.1.2010

  • Italy Will Step Up Tourism Ties with Cambodia [according to a meeting between Cabinet Minister Sok An and the Italian Ambassador, Mr. Michelangelo Pipan; tourist arrivals from Italy are at the 20th position]
  • The Senate Approved the Expropriation Law by 50 Votes among 52 [during less than 60 minutes]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #90, 15.1.2010

  • The Investigations of Case 002 [of the former Khmer Rouge leaders, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Nuon Chea, Khiev Samphan, and Kaing Kek Eav] Are Finished and the Hearings Will Sstart in Late 2010 [at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, and an investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth] and an Opposition Party Asked the Government to Create Employment at the Border Areas [so that Khmer citizens do not enter Thailand to illegally log trees which leads to shootings and killings]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5100, 15.1.2010

  • The South Korean Ambassador [Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo] Announced to Help Cambodia More through Aid and More Investments

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1856, 15-17.1.2010

  • Five Khmer Kampuchea Krom Monks Escaped after They Were Arrested [over an accusation of distributing leaflets criticizing the 7 January Celebrations, when the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979]

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A Government Official Claimed Human Rights Violations Dropped, while Civil Society Found They Increased – Thursday, 14.1.2010

Posted on 15 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Mr. Om Yentieng, said that in 2009, human rights violations decreased compared with previous years, but civil society officials claimed they increased.

“Mr. Om Yentieng stated that the human rights conditions in Cambodia were better than in previous years. But he did not offer a percentage of the increase and of the decrease. He added that a better human rights situation exists in all sectors, because of a better understanding of the law by citizens. Also, the capacity of the authorities at most ministries and institutions did advance. He continued to say that the promotion of and the caring for human rights issues mentioned in the Rectangular Strategy are now in practice.

“Regarding this case, an investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, told Deum Ampil that in 2009, according to the findings of LICADHO, there were as many as 904 cases of human rights violation in 14 provinces and cities. He added that those cases consist of violations against general human rights, against women’s rights, and against children’s rights. Compared to 2008, there was an increase by 54 cases, as in 2008 there were only 846 cases. He went on to say that most violations of general human rights occurred all the time, including evictions, assaults, and murders. As for women and children, the number of rapes increased. He stressed that major problems, which led to the increase is that the court systems was not independent, and the understanding of the field still seems to remains limited. Therefore, the authorities frequently did compromise when there were offenses or crimes. Another point is that often perpetrators were not arrested for prosecution by the courts. There are other related problems that stimulated the increase of rapes against children and women, like foreign pornographic videos or drug abuse.

“He continued to say that there is more increase of violations in Phnom Penh than in other provinces. He said if human rights violations continues, it will contribute negatively to the situation of the whole nation. Moreover, foreign countries will see Cambodia as a country where sufficient actions are not taken against offenders.

“Also, an investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said that freedom of expression, impunity, land disputes, evictions, and different laws which relate to human rights in Cambodia are of concern. All civil society organizations notice that the freedom of expression is in a worrying situation, because some civil society officials were sued by government officials. The immunity of some parliamentarians was suspended, and they are indicted at the courts. As for impunity, he said that it is rising higher, and there is not yet an independent monitoring of the conditions. Mr. Om Yentieng said that he is pleased and welcomes talks about human rights issues in Cambodia, if anyone does not agree with his aforementioned claims.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #387, 14.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 14 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #387, 14.1.2010

  • A Government Official Claimed Human Rights Violations Dropped, while Civil Society Found They Increased
  • [Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Will Not [bilaterally] Meet [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya during the [ASEAN ministerial] Meeting in Vietnam

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2150, 14.1.2010

  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaugsuban Responded to Samdech Hun Sen that His Government Will Have a Very Long Life
  • The Ministry of Health Vows to Completely Eliminate Illegal Pharmacies and Their Branches and Clinics by March 2010

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #717, 14.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warned to Arrest Any Parliamentarians Who Are Addicted to Gambling

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #579, 14.1.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Orders an Investigation to Find the Place That Produces Shoes on which an Image of the Angkor Wat Temple Is Printed [considering it as in insult]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6857, 14.1.2010

  • Drunken Man Ended His Wife’s Life Cruelly in Front of Three Daughters [out of jealousy – making his five children become orphans; he was arrested – Kandal]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #89, 14.1.2010

  • Cambodia Condemned Thailand over a Shootout Which Killed Khmer Citizens at the Border
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Visit Cambodia in Late January while Red-Shirt Demonstrators [his supporters] Prepare to Demonstrate in Bangkok

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5099, 14.1.2010

  • The American Embassy Sponsored Training on Information Technology at the Ministry of Justice
  • A Terrible Earthquake Tragedy Occurred in Haiti [thousands of people died]

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Within the Last 15 Years, Chinese Investors Control Projects Worth Up to US$6,511 Million – Wednesday, 13.1.2010

Posted on 14 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: Statistics over a course of 15 years show that Chinese investors invested the largest amount among all foreign investors in Cambodia.

“According to figures received from the Council for the Development of Cambodia late last week, China invested from 1994 to September 2009 as much as US$6,511 million in Cambodia.

“The same source added that after the Chinese investment, South Korea stands at the second position with total investments of about US$2,856 million; the third is Malaysia with US$2,199 million; the fourth [?] the European Union more than US$1,135 million; fifth [?] is the USA with US$1,179 million; sixth, Thailand with about US$748 million; seventh, Taiwan with about US$654 million; eighth, Singapore with about US$519 million; ninth, Hong Kong with about US$278 million; and tenth, Japan with about US$148 million.

“Most of the investment projects of the 10 investors focus on tourism and on industry.

“The same source went on to say that tourism received up to 48% of the investments, followed by 23% for the industry, and also 23% for services. However, there is little investment in agriculture, which received only 6%.

“Based on the above figures, within 15 years, it is noticed that in 2008 alone, foreign investment in Cambodia grew up to US$10,891 million, followed by 2006 with US$4,415 million; 2007 had about US$2,673 million, and by September 2009 it was only US$1,610 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5098, 13.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #386, 13.1.2010

  • The World Bank Offers to Establish a Foundation to Increase Education Outreach at Schools for Cambodia [for poor children who are vulnerable and are living in remote areas; each of 36,000 students can receive between US$45 to US$60 annually from the World Bank to support their continued schooling]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2149, 13.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: This Government [the current Thai government] Will Not Last Long!
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned the Eight District Governors of Phnom Penh to Look at Gambling Sites [to stop them – otherwise those district governors will have problems]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #716, 13.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Criticized Inactive Officials Who Try to Seek Much Money to Put into Their Pockets, but Send any Problems in Their Work to Higher Levels Asking for Help to Solve Them [being incompetent; he warned that such officials, if they reach retiring age, they should be retired, others should be reappointed to positions suiting their capacity]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #578, 13.1.2010

  • [Eighteen] Parliamentarians and Senators from the Sam Rainsy Party Asked [Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng to Allow Them to Visit Two Villagers in Detention [over the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6856, 13.1.2010

  • A New Survey of the [US] International Republican Institute Shows that 79% [of Cambodian citizens] Said the Government’s Performance Is Right [about the government led by the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Head of the Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Reacted against a Claim [by a Thai official of Foreign Affairs quoted in the Thai newspaper The Nation] that the Preah Vihear Temple, the Khmer Pagoda [Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda], and the Area around the Temple Belong to Siam [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #88, 13.1.2010

  • [The Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen: [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya Is a Terrorist [because he was involved in demonstrating at the airports in Thailand]; He Waits for a New Government to Reconnect Diplomatic Ties
  • [Local] Citizens Claimed that Drugs Are Sold like Candy in Sampov Lun District [and asked the local authorities to suppress drug dealers and abusers – Battambang]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5098, 13.1.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the special border protection units] Shot a Khmer Man and His Son to Death [when they went to cut trees] and Came to a Prohibited Border Point [buffer zone, but withdrew later on]
  • Within the Last 15 Years, Chinese Investors Control Projects Worth Up to US$6,511 Million
  • A Passenger Car Came off the Road, Killing Three People and Injuring Fourteen [Siem Reap]

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In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million – Tuesday, 12.1.2010

Posted on 13 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“The tax department announced that in 2009, the tax income amounted to about US$595 million, approx. US$49 million per month, and in 2010 the incoming tax is expected to be about US$52 million per month.

“On 11 January 2010, the tax department held a meeting to give a comprehensive report on its work in December 2009, chaired by Dr. Pen Simon, the Director-General of Cambodian Customs, appointed by the Royal Government, with participation by other customs officers from all provinces. Dr. Pen Simon said that in December 2009, the tax income was Riel 219,000,000,000 or US$52 million, which increased by about Riel 23,000,000,000 [approx. US$5.75 million], compared to December 2008. He said that in 2009, customs officers collected about Riel 2,491,000,000,000 or approx. US$595 million in total. On average, that is about Riel 208,000,000,000 [approx. US$52 million] per month, exceeding the plan by more than 3%.

“He stressed that in 2009, customs officers suppressed illegal trafficking and imposed fines of more than Riel 23,000,000,000 (approx. US$5.5 million) which was 50% higher than 2009. Dr. Pen Simon said that in 2010, the tax administration is challenged by a plan to aim at a higher collected amount of about Riel 217,000,000,000 per month [approx. US$54 million], while the global economic and the financial crisis is strongly influencing the growth of the GDP, reducing exports leading to reduced taxes. He added that this requires the tax administration to accelerate reforms both in management, monitoring, and implementation, and in establishing more effective taxation policies and measures to suppress tax evasion.

“He requested that in 2010 customs officers in mobile tax monitoring units in all provinces have to investigate and to suppress products being trafficked effectively. Information about a basic law and other regulations recently approved have to be shared with all tax officials. Departments for tax crime prevention and suppression have to be strengthened to work efficiently. No illegal checkpoints should be established to collect money illegally. Officials have to check suspicious activities, for example of vendors who produce fake tax stamps and and fake vehicle licenses, including cases where officials are faking them. Services for the specification of vehicle identification papers have to be established quickly, in order to avoid delays because of improper reasons.

“He went on to say that in 2009, goods being moved across some special crossing point were about 20%, but there were not many crimes, and further assessment is necessary. In addition, Mr. Pen Simon told customs officers that they have to control the export and import of vegetables and fruits by vendors in general, and prepare procedures to collect taxes from already identified motorbikes on certain lists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #385, 12.1.2010

  • An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [Mr. Chea Mony claimed that there are still bad working conditions for garment workers, and there were less demonstrations and strikes because of restriction imposed by the authorities; however, the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be informed to the authorities in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2148, 12.1.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot Dead Three Khmer Citizens at the Border [accusing them of illegally cutting down trees in Thai territory]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #715, 12.1.2010

  • Four Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Received the Death Penalty from the Chinese Authorities [12 others were imprisoned from 5 years to for the rest of their lives, and only a woman and her small child were released]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #577, 12.1.2010

  • War of Words between [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva  Calmed Down while Siam [Thailand] Does Not Care about Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6855, 12.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory in Koh Kong Will Be Organized under the Guidance of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [the launching date is not yet known]
  • In 2009 Violent Crimes Decreased by 55 Cases Compared to 2008 [there were 440 cases in Phnom Penh in 2009]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #87, 12.1.2010

  • Cambodia Returned the Cambodian Air Traffic Service (CATS) Back to Control of [the Thai] Samart Company [which had been suspended because control by foreigners of the company had been declared a security risk
  • [Thousands of] Red Shirt Group [supporters of the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Demonstrated against a King’s Advisor [Mr. Surayud Chulanont]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

  • In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million
  • Phnom Penh Health Officials Are Seeking Funds for Spraying Insecticide against Mosquitoes [after citizens complained there are lots of mosquitoes in the city]

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Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions – Monday, 11.1.2010

Posted on 11 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers stated that there were more than 100 demonstrations and strikes held by workers in 2009, but this number is less than in previous years. However, the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities.

“Generally, demonstrations and strikes do not achieve 100% results, but only through them can problems of workers get solved up to 70%. He said that when demonstrations and strikes are conducted by workers, there can be solutions, but if not, there are not any solutions for their problems. He added, ‘We do not use demonstrations and strikes as a weapon to trouble factory owners or the government, but it is because some factories do not respect working condition regulations at all, and strikes are held because the relevant ministries are incapable of implementing the law. Thus, the procedures to demonstrate and to strike is a good way for workers, or it can be considered as a good medicine to solve their problems.’

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #384, 10-11.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 11 January 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #93, 11.1.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Mr. Chea Mony Asked the United States Not to Impose Taxes on Garment Products Exported from Cambodia to the United States

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #384, 10-11.1.2010

  • Chea Mony: That Demonstarations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2147, 10-11.1.2010

  • A Major Shot About 10 Times into the Air [reason unknown], but the Authorities Did not Dare Not to Arrest Him [though there were soldiers at a nearby post, and also military police and police did not arrest him – Prampi Makara district, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6854, 11.1.2010

  • Nearly Two Tonnes of Quails and Hundreds of Bottles of Johnie Walker Whisky [of no quality] Were Burnt or Destroyed [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #86, 11.1.2010

  • Prices of Gasoline Start to Rise Again [to about US$1.07 Premium and US$1.04 Regular per liter in Cambodia after the price at international markets for crude oil increased up to US$90.25 per barrel]
  • Officials [of the Ministry of Health] Are Concerned about the Spreading of Cholera in the Dry Season [because of unsanitary living conditions]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5096, 10-11.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Court Will Open the Hearing on [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy on 27 January 2010 [over the removal of border markers]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1853, 11-12.1.2010

  • The Court Will Convict Five Citizens and Mr. Sam Rainsy on 27 January over [the removal] of Border Marker 185
  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Will Be Indicted and Added into Case 002 with [four other] Khmer Rouge Top Leaders [Nuon Chea, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith]

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