Week 668

Changing Approaches to Old Problems – Sunday, 13.6.2010

Posted on 14 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

Though the development of labor unions has progressed over the years, there were always also tensions. First, it has to be acknowledged that there will always be tensions, that is: between labor unions on the one side, through which workers express their opinion and negotiate their claims and rights – and the owners of the enterprises where they work. Both sides need each other, and it is always necessary to work towards an equilibrium between both sides and their interests.

In many countries with a market economy system, it is the state that is watching over this balance of power so that it is fair and helps maintain social peace and, if possible, also economic progress in a society. But when one of these sides has the impression that the state does not take a neutral position, but is favoring one side over the other, relations get strained.

The recently passed legislation to restrict public demonstrations by limiting the number of participants to 200, and to designate a place for these people to meet, restricting their public display by marching together, followed by announcements that the Ministry of Labor is drafting a new law on Labor Unions. While there was no general opposition to regulate the role of labor unions by law, it was greeted by suspicion that it is another attempt to control the unions, for example be imposing some mechanisms how they have to report their finances transparently. – It is not publicly known that the government is planning to impose similar regulations on the other side. The Ministry of Labor has indicated that the draft of the law would be made available for discussion in time – again this is not yet seen to come, after the draft anti-corruption law had been kept confidential almost until the time when it was discussed and voted upon.

At the same time where such a move to more regulation by the state is perceived in Cambodia, there are unprecedented movements in China that workers of some international companies are breaking out of the system of the Chinese, state regulated labor unions, where workers have started to act independently – not 200, but close to 20,000 in one place – to claim public attention to their situation.

The Bangkok Post presented an interesting analysis and overview of these developments – and its problems – on 13 June 2010:

On Friday morning, about 17,000 workers at a Honda car parts plant in Zhongshan, China, held a protest march to the factory gates. They were demanding an almost doubling of their wages and the right to form their own labor unions, as opposed to the government controlled national federation of trade unions. This was the third Honda plant hit by a work stoppage in the last two weeks…

It is more that a little ironic that China, a country that in March announced a new certification system for reporters which requires training in Marxist theories, has been seeing increasing incidents of labor groups demonstrating for greater rights.

It is, of course, a basic premise of Marxism that capitalism exploits the working class, who are the true producers of wealth in society.

The events in Zhongshan follow close on the heels of the bad publicity surrounding a spate of suicides at the giant Foxconn Technology group… which employs more than 300,000 workers making iPhones and other electronic devices. Workers at the compound complained that they were driven like robots by the excessively fast assembly line…

The company agreed to a 65% pay increase for workers, which it says will be passed on to the buyers of its electronic goods.

It is encouraging that the company has taken steps to improve the lot of workers, but this coincides with the announcement that the company might move some of its production lines back to Taiwan, if the government there offers enough incentives, especially lowering the minimum wage for hiring foreign laborers.

The awakening of China’s labor force has to be considered a good thing, but striking a balance that allows a much better quality of life for workers, and enough profitability to keep the companies offering foreign direct investment interested will be a challenge for the workers, for the companies, and for the government.

The Mirror had reported recently about a protracted labor conflict – and that the plan of workers to suspend their work for three days, to demand an increase of salaries, and that the employer obey the labor law, is still not canceled.

Such developments may have an influence also on Cambodia. Not only in terms of labor-management relations in Cambodia, but it may also lead to new job opportunities for Cambodian workers abroad – an increasing number of people finding employment and economic returns in other countries: in Malaysia, in South Korea, and increasingly in some Arab countries.

And this at a time – though in a different context – when the Cambodian Watchdog Council is requesting that the number of foreigners living in Cambodia should be made more transparent, and probably more controlled.

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The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions – Saturday, 12.6.2010

Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to issue a sub-decree soon about the rate of disabled people that should be employed at state institutions, companies, factories, and enterprises.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Sem Sokha, said in the evening of 11 June 2010 that the sub-decree had already been checked by the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council, and it will then be sent to relevant ministries, and finally to a cabinet meeting.

“Mr. Sem Sokha added that the sub-decree will be released soon, because also Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen wants it to be issued soon in order to help handicapped people to work at state and private institutions.

“Mr. Sem Sokha mentioned some contents of the sub-decree, which states that state institutions are required to employ at least 2% disabled people [among their total personnel] who have sufficient qualifications, while private companies, factories, and enterprises are required to recruit 1%.

“When he was asked what actions would be taken, if any state or private institutions do not adhere to the sub-decree, he explained that they will be fined to pay 50% of the salary of the civil servants they would have to hire. That means if a ministry is required to employ two or three disabled people but do not employ them, they have to pay 50% of their salaries as a fine. He added that for companies, factories, and enterprises, they will be charged 40% of the staff salary. According to a demographic study in 2004, 4% of the population are disabled.

“Mr. Sem Sokha said that when the sub-decree becomes valid, disabled people will receive full rights to live integrated in society and especially they can work at different state and private institutions like normal people.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #502, 12.6.2010

  • A CRV [“compact recreational vehicle”] Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing Two people and Injuring Three Others Seriously and Lightly [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

  • The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions
  • The USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Warship of the United State of America Began [for the first time also a] Cambodia Phase of CARAT Exercises [Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, begun in 1995, after Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were involved already in the past]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #680, 12.6.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that There Will Be a Political Solution for Him [he was convicted over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng; now he is abroad]
  • A Petition Was Sent to the US President to Ask Him to Condemn the Supreme Court of Cambodia and the Cambodian Government over the Prosecution of Ms. Mu Sochua [regarding the defamation case of Prime Minister Hun Sen which is a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression. There is no information given which institution or group organized it – it is just stated that thumb prints and signature were collected by people supporting the petition]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6980, 12-13.6.2010

  • Japan Announced to Grant US$131 Million Development Aid to Cambodia Each Year for Three Years
  • A Twelve Seater Car Tire Burst and the Car Overturned, Resulting in Three Deaths and Six Injured People [Kompong Cham]
  • Lightnings Killed Three Persons and Injured Another in the Kong Meas and Dambae Districts after Two Days of Continuing Rain

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3904, 12-13.6.2010

  • Leaders from 46 Countries in Asia and Europe Will Meet in Brussels [on 14 July to prepare the upcoming 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5222, 12.6.2010

  • The Forestry Heads of Three Provinces [Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Oddar Meanchey] Were Reshuffled while the Iron Fist Campaign Is Still Being Implemented Strictly
  • The Authorities Chased a Car Loaded with Ebony, Driven by a Kompong Thom Police Major; Because He Was Scared, He Ran into the Soth Nikum District Police Station [the car driver and his wife were arrested – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers] Rejected the Findings of the Corporate Council (?) based in England Which Indicate that Peace in Cambodia Is Deteriorating

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The Ministry of Interior Rejected Rong Chhun’s Request to Disclose the Number of Immigrants – Friday, 11.6.2010

Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Interior will not respond to a request from Mr. Rong Chhun, a representative of the Cambodian Watchdog Council [he is also the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, surprisingly not mentioned in this article], for a public information about the number of immigrants in Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, told Deum Ampil by phone on Thursday, 10 June 2010, that the Ministry of Interior does not have the right to respond to Mr. Rong Chhun’s request; the Ministry of Interior is an institution under the administration of the fourth term Royal Government that has the role to serve the citizens.

“A letter signed by Mr. Rong Chhun, a representative of the Cambodian Watchdog Council, to the Ministry of Interior and the Deum Ampil newspaper on Thursday morning says that the Cambodian Watchdog Council noticed that the number of immigrants in Cambodia keeps increasing from day to day, which worries Khmer citizens.

“The letter adds that the Cambodian Watchdog Council asked for information about the number of legal and illegal Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants living in Cambodia. The Ministry of Interior does not broadly publish the number of immigrants and does not have clear procedures to be taken against illegal immigrants living in Cambodia.

“General Khieu Sopheak responded to the letter, saying, ‘The Ministry of Interior is not under the command of that council!’

“He added that the Ministry of Interior is controlled by the fourth Royal Government under Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen as the head of government, which is obliged to serve the citizens. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior does not have the right to answer to the above request, and he asked Mr. Rong Chhun to look at himself and to see how much rights he has.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #501, 11.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 11 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #501, 11.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Rejected Rong Chhun’s Request to Disclose the Number of Immigrants
  • A Woman [the wife of a military general] Was Threatened with a Gun Pointed at Her Head [by two robbers] During the Day, and More Than US$10,000 Was Taken Away [Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2272, 11.6.2010

  • Six Men and Women Were Arrested and 1,964 Drug Tablets Were Confiscated [Banteay Meanchey]
  • Many Ethnic Phnoung People Have Diarrhea, because of Alleged Lack of Sanitation [Mondolkiri]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #778, 11.6.2010

  • The World Bank Announced to Open Investigations over Corruption in the Implementation of Land Registration and the Issuing of Land Titles in Boeng Kak [financially supported by the WB]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #679, 11.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Watchdog Council Asked [the Ministry of Interior] to Disclose the Number of Immigrants in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6979, 11.6.2010

  • [More than 100] Citizens from Chamkar Leu and Stung Trong Districts Came to Ask for Intervention from the Governor over a Land Dispute [with two companies – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #191, 10.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Information Asked Advertising Companies to Apply for Licenses or They Will Be Fined
  • The Appeals Court Dismissed [Russia’s] Request to Extradite a Russian Man [Alexander Trofimov, a tycoon] Who Had Sex with Cambodian Children [according to a confidential memo of the court; he is still involved with three other court cases in Canmbodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5221, 11.6.2010

  • The Son of the Deputy Head of the Stung Treng Police Office Drove a Car Loaded with Wood [as his car was chased by the authorities, he finally drove it] into a Police Station [and ran away over the rice fields behind the police station – Stung Treng]
  • China Will Open a Branch of a Bank [the Bank of China] in Cambodia Soon [according to the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia]

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Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Thursday, 10.6.2010

Posted on 11 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC], called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, announced
that there is disagreement among co-investigating judges after there had been some misinformation, and an international co-investigating judge considers it as disagreement.

“According to the announcement by the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, released on 9 June 2010, the co-investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal want to correct some information that led to a misunderstanding in a publication on 8 June 2010 of The Cambodia Daily, with the headline, ‘Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects’ and on 9 June 2010 ‘Khmer Rouge Judge Does Not Sign On to New Investigations.’

“The same announcement says that to ensure clarity, the co-investigating judges decided to make a public announcement on the above case, and declared on 9 June 2010 that the international co-investigating judge considers that there is disagreement between two investigating judges (a national judge, Mr. You Bunleng, and an international judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde) over the appropriate time to begin inquiries.

“The announcement adds that relating to the plan for investigations on Case 003 and 004 to be organized before the end of this year, the international co-investigating judge will continue this work alone in accordance with the regulations of Procedure 27 of the internal procedures of the ECCC.

“Regarding the background of the disagreement, an international co-investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, wrote a letter dated 2 June 2010 to Judge You Bunleng, saying, as the investigations on Case 002 have been completely finished, the investigators should not be kept to get their salaries paid without having work to do. He added that he cannot wait longer without a clear result. Therefore, if a warrant to begin new investigations would not be signed by Friday, 4 June 2010 at noon, he would have to write a note about the disagreement, because it could possibly lead to various negative consequences.

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal asked The Cambodia Daily to correct the information published on 8 June 2010 with the headline “Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects” on page 26, claiming that the press quoted information that was ‘non-basis information’ and was not from the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

Note:

The Cambodia Daily added on 10 June 2010 that Mr. Marcel Lemonde stated that the letter to start further investigations waited for three weeks to be signed. Then Mr. You Bonleng signed it.

The Cambodia Daily then quotes Mr. You Bonmleng’s letter from 8 June 2010:

“Throughout the process of reflection on your proposal and the ultimatum you imposed on me, I had thought that it seemed time to take action as part of cases 003 and 004; I therefore signed the draft rotatory letters on Friday, June 4, 2010.

However, upon more attentive and deeper consideration of the question, I think that it is not yet opportune to take action in cases 003 and 004.

So I permit myself to return to you the draft rogatory letters containing your signature, mine being crossed out, and we shall contemplate discussion on any measures concerning cases 003 and 004 in the month of September 2010.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 10 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1443, 10-11.6.2010

  • 250 Children Scavengers [at the major garbage dump of Phnom Penh] in Stung Meanchey Received Learning Materials from the Minister of Social Affairs [Mr. Ith Sam Heng]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #500, 10.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Considers the Armed Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers] at Chambok Koang as a Minor Incident

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

  • Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Is Disappointed with the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [who plans to focus only on judicial reforms in Cambodia, while ADHOC wants him to pay attention also to the land issues that result from the provisions of economic concession land to companies and the removal of people from the land]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #678, 10.6.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Called on Officials under His Administration to Conduct Reforms Using the Aid Received
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [the murdered head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Will Be Shown Soon [though the authorities did not allow it]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6978, 10.6.2010

  • The Border Marker Number 241 at the K’om Samnor-Vinh Soeung International Border Crossing Was Inaugurated; the Provinces of Kandal and of An Giang [of Vietnam] Have Land and Water Borders of 29.5 Kilometer
  • Bill Gates Donates US$1.5 Billion to Impoverished Countries for the Care for Women and Children

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3902, 10.6.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Does Not Believe that Foreign Aid Can Be Used for the Right Targets and with Transparency, though [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Promised to Carry Out Reforms

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #190, 10.6.2010

  • Thirty Border Crossings in Banteay Meanchey Were Closed [in order to stop the illegal import of pigs, petroleum, gas, fruit, and no-quality foods from Thailand to Cambodia]
  • Cambodia Sugar [produced by a sugar factory in Koh Kong] Can Be Exported for the First Time [10,000 tonnes of sugar are exported to London]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5220, 10.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Called on Citizens Not to Do Football Betting during the FIFA World Cup [which will start on 11 June 2010, and he asked the authorities to suppress betting]
  • An Old French Man Received Two Years Imprisonment for Buying Child Debauchery, but His Imprisonment Will Be Implemented for Seven Months Only [Phnom Penh]

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The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance – Wednesday, 9.6.2010

Posted on 10 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Donors and aid organizations provide development aid to Cambodia because they want the Cambodian government to create mechanisms to fight corruption, effectively implementing an anti-corruption law. In 2010, Cambodia received pledges of US$1.1 billion of aid from donors, where Japan provides US$131 million, comparable to China that provides more than US$100 million. The third big donor is the United States of America that provides US$68 million, Germany more than US$65 million, and Australia more than US$61 million. Besides, the Asia Development Bank, the World Bank, and many other global institutions provide most of the rest of the aid amounting to US$352 million.

“Also, twelve organizations of the United Nations provide more than US$86 million, and European countries, including through the European Commission, provide more than US$255 million, among which Germany provides most with US$65 million.

“Besides the intention to see the government organize anti-corruption mechanisms, the donors and aid organizations as well as international financial institutions focus on the plans to maintain macro-economic stability and to reduce the poverty of Khmer citizens, by suggesting that increased aid efficiency is essential, and they hope that the Cambodian government will use the aid efficiently and transparently, to encourage economic growth. If Cambodia cannot achieve economic growth, poverty alleviation will be difficult. Therefore, the donors and aid organizations will step up their mechanisms to carefully monitor the use of aid.

“The country director of the World Bank in Cambodia called for concentration to strengthen the economic basis, like through the improvement of competitiveness and of the investment atmosphere, the provision of concession land that benefits the poor, solutions for citizens who lose their land, public administration reforms, and especially the improvement of transparent control and use of income from natural resources.

“The International Monetary Fund, an institution that provides technical assistance on finance and banking, suggested that the Cambodian government has to cut down the national deficit that increased by 6% in 2009 down to 5% by eliminating tax exemptions, though they are important to attract investors.

“Formerly, in order to attract investors to Cambodia, the government decided not to tax factories or enterprises newly opened during the first two or three years, depending on whether those factors or enterprises had gained profit or lost.

“Also, the representative of the European Union demanded the improvement of education quality and the promotion of primary education, fields which are still weak. He said that the number of people who cannot attend school is still high. Thus, the government has to ensure that boys and girls have equal opportunities to go to school, so as to increase educational opportunities for girls. And the government has to decrease the number of students that drop out from school.

“Not only in Cambodia, but also in other developing countries in the world, financial aid is crucial for the development of these countries.

“Among the more than 14 million Khmer citizens, about 4 million live under the poverty line. In 2006, Cambodia received more than US$700 million financial aid, and the figures keep increasing from year to year, where in 2010 the aid pledges increased to US$1.1 billion. Nevertheless, expert officials estimated that in 2011, the aid will decline to US$958 million and in 2012 to US$750 million.

“The opposition parties suggested to donors and aid organizations not to provide aid to the government, accusing the government of committing corruption, and the government does not use the aid properly. But the aid keeps rising anyway.

“It is good that the government is successful in trusting donors and aid organizations in its ruling. But what the government had promised is not just to satisfy the donors. The government must work on its weak points and should not arbitrarily react against criticisms. Particularly, it should be able to carry out its commitment to conduct public administrative and judicial reforms, to strengthen the transparent management of income from oil and gas resources, and to strengthen the effective implementation of the anti-corruption law.

“If the government can achieve success following its commitments, we believe that the aid to be provided in 2011 would be more than that in 2010.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #499, 9.6.2010

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Had an Armed Clash at Ou Cham Bak Point in the Trapeang Prasat District [in Oddar Meanchey; one Cambodian army commander said that Thai soldiers started shooting at Cambodian soldiers first, but the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Defense says that this is not clear – but nobody was wounded]
  • Spain Provides a Loan of US$5 million for Development over a Period of Three Years [2010 to 2012, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals]
  • [Mr. José Mujica, a former left wing guerilla fighter, elected president in 2009] The President of Uruguay Is the Poorest President in the World [he owns no house and drives a car that cost only US$1,900; he gets US$11,000 as his salary, but he donates one fifth to the funds of his party, and the rest of the salary to the state funds to construct infrastructure for people in poor areas]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2270, 9.6.2010

  • The Forestry Head of the Sandan Commune Intercepted More Than 400 Cubic Meter of Wood Hidden by a Trader [so far nobody has been arrested – Kompong Thom]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

  • The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6977, 9.6.2010

  • The Appeals Court Maintains the Judgment of the Municipal Court That Rejects the Request [of opposition party president Sam Rainsy] to Create an Independent Border Committee [to check the putting of border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • Fake $100 Notes Worth US$10,000 Were Planned to Be Trafficked into Phnom Penh [but were intercepted; a man was arrested – the Banteay Meanchey police suspected a taxi that carried no passengers but drove very fast towards Phnom Penh – Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3901, 9.6.2010

  • Corruption and Interference by Politicians into the Judicial System in Cambodia Must Be Reformed in Time

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #189, 9.6.2010

  • Four Companies [names not mentioned] Continue to Dredge Sand at the Koh Kong Beach [sand dredging is supposed to have been forbidden, and it affects the fish yield ]
  • Another Car Assembly Company Will Be Established [in Cambodia; the Khmer First Car Company, owned by a Chinese national, will be established in Phnom Penh to assemble trucks – brand name not mentioned]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5219, 9.6.2010

  • The Senate and the National Assembly Appointed Members of the Anti-Corruption Council [Mr. Prak Sok, a former member of the Constitutional Council, is the representative of the Senate, and Mr. Tob Som is the representative of the National Assembly]
  • The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Employment in Charge of Foreign Commerce of France [Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac] Visits Cambodia [from 9 to 11 June 2010, to boost Cambodian-French cooperation]
  • 11.54 Cubic Meter of Ebony Wood Was Intercepted [the car driver run away from the truck – Prey Veng]

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The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award – Tuesday, 8.6.2010

Posted on 9 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The judges of the international award of the Stockholm International Water Institute [‘The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is an independent policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis’] recently decided to give the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. The ceremony to deliver the award will be held in early September 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the third world-class award that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has won.

“The announcement about the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority receiving the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 shows what the judges for this award of the Stockholm International Water Institute assessed and wrote about the qualifications of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of four rivers arms that serve as an endless water source. But because the country had suffered from chronic civil war for decades, the water supply system became obsolete, and the supply of water did not start to improve before the 1990ies.

“In 1993, Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed by the government as the General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Department, and his team led officials and employees to do some basic work, like to totally repair the water supply system. He also initiated the creation of a new highly effective administrative system to issue invoices and receipts for payments. He also initiated international standard procedures to supply clean water to all residents of Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is successful in fighting corruption and has shown the world that the fight against corruption can be successful in a developing country through the use of simple but effective leadership, based on policies and commercial strategies that are recognized worldwide. At present, as an autonomous unit, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is supplying water 24 hours a day to 90% of Phnom Penh, which has about 1.3 million citizens, and effectively controls its revenue and expenses. In the meantime, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority continues to further develop the clean water supply system and to strengthens the internal control of the unit.

“Since 1998, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has set up a totally new supply system. The quantity of water lost as the result of broken and leaking pipes dropped from 72% in 1993 to only 6% in 2008, which is a very small quantity compared to that of other modern countries in the world. Nowadays, the collection of water bills recovers over 98% of the invoiced charges, which allows the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to get the necessary money back to cover its operational costs. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority reaches world standards due to its leading water supply system.

“The judges of the Stockholm International Water Institute added that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is strongly committed to act responsibly in social and environmental fields, showing to other developing countries that not only big countries can have regular access to clean water. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is a good model for all water supply institutions to improve their operations and to step up their care to provide good services to their clients. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has made effort to improve also the sanitation system in Phnom Penh, and the company is ready to be listed at the stock exchange in late 2010 [if it really starts to operate by that time].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan, appointed by the Royal government as General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, said during the conference, where the award of the Stockholm Water Industry Award was announced on 7 June 2009, that the judges for the provision of the international award to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority recognized the supply of water in Phnom Penh as having international standard quality. The duty of the unit is to continue to supply clean water for the sake of public health in large quantities any time, and this with cheap prices. The price of water in Phnom Penh is cheapest in the region. The unit could reach the above mentioned achievement because Samdech Akkak Moho Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen had chosen a leader who has the ability to identify many priorities, such as the use of loans, who can also encourage all consumers to pay their bills. Also the former Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Chea Sophara, who had worked with the Asian Development Bank and with the understanding from the Minister of Industry not to interfere into the autonomy of this unit, had enormously contributed to the present success, as well as the help from the current municipal governor. In addition, there is collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and other institutions that provided loans, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Agence Française de Développement [AFD], and the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan said about the award, ‘We did not request this award. Others decided it. There were 64 requests from different institutions for the award in 2010, but only one was selected.’ The Stockholm International Award was established in 2000. This award is considered to be a world-class water award, created to encourage the supply of clean water for public well being. It is a great award for the field of clean water supply. The award will be delivered at a building that had also been used to deliver the Nobel Prizes, and the Swedish King will deliver it. In the past, the award was delivered to clean water institutions in the following countries:

  • 2000 to England
  • 2001 to Mexico
  • 2002 to Norway
  • 2003 to Canada
  • 2004 to India
  • 2005 to the United States of America
  • 2006 to Australia
  • 2007 to Singapore
  • 2008 again to the United States of America
  • 2009 again to Canada, and
  • 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority of Cambodia

Most of the countries that won this award in the past are modern developed countries.

“It should be noted that the award won by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is the third world-class award for this unit: it had also received other awards, a first award in 2004 and a second award in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #498, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Will Take Strict Measures against Anybody Engaged in Football Betting [as the FIFA World Cup will start on 11 June 2010]
  • The United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] Called on Donors to Provide Aid for the Care of Cambodian Women and Girls [it is estimated that each day, at least five Cambodian women die while delivering babies, because of the lack of health services and medical facilities]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2269, 8.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The High Price of Capital in Commercial Operations Is a Challenge for Our Competitiveness [he said so during the World Economic Forum on East Asia]
  • The Authorities Asked for a Delay for One More Month from Citizens Whose Houses Were Burnt Down [on 8 March 2010 in the Boeng Kak II commune, Phnom Penh] before Relocating Them to a New Area [they live in temporary shelters, and the authorities are preventing those who wanted to reconstruct their housing from doing so]
  • 7,004 Hectares of Agro-Industrial Crops Were Totally Destroyed [by a tropical storm] in the Koulen District [Preah Vihear]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #676, 8.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Plan to Quietly Go to Visit and Monitor Border Markers at the Borders with Yuon [Vietnam and with Thailand; without informing the authorities – according to the Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6976, 8.6.2010

  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party That Had Frictions, Signed to Create an Alliance with Each Other
  • Disastrous Storm Made 23 Houses Collapse in the Thmor Koul District [of Battambang], and Lightnings Killed Two Persons in the Bakan District [of Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3900, 8.6.2010

  • Poor Citizens [from 80 families in the Boeng Kak II commune, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh] Victimized by Fire [that bunt down their houses on 8 March 2010] next to Wat Neakavon Protested [in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality] against their Evictions and Asked for in-Place Development

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #188, 8.6.2010

  • The Donors Pledged to Provide Development Aid of Up to US$2.8 Billion for Three Years [from 2010 to 2012]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award
  • The Tax Income of May 2010 Amounts to Nearly US$59 Million [an increase by 22% compared to April]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors – Monday, 7.6.2010

Posted on 8 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“According to assessments of some international organizations, each year as much as US$500 million of the state’s resources is lost to corruption in Cambodia, which seriously affects the interest of the country and of Cambodian citizens.

“At present, corruption is deeply rooted in Khmer society, and there is no hope that anybody could eliminate it, though an anti-corruption law will come into force. However, national and international circles were surprised when Prime Minister Hun Sen stated recently, at the occasion of granting certificates at the Royal University of Administration, that corrupt officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, as well as civil police, and military units should know to be warned that the government will enforce the anti-corruption law against those officials, and will encourage non-corrupt officials to help report cases of corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit, which is just being established after an anti-corruption law has been voted upon.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen enthusiastically stated that the government will be able to eliminate corruption by using the anti-corruption law. He said that now, the government has enough legal mechanisms to bring corrupt officials to court to be punished, and most officials who do not commit corruption at each institution, ministry, and department will report the persons that commit corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit.

“Mr. Hun Sen added that he trusts the fight against corruption will work, because at each unit, among 100 officials there might be only two or three who commit corruption, and there are many other non-corrupt officials who will report to the Anti-Corruption Unit. They will join to eradicate corruption, since it siphons off also the interest of the units.

“This is a rare and interesting public commitment of Mr. Hun Sen to fight corruption. Therefore, high ranking officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, and at civil, police, and military units, they should listen to Mr. Hun Sen’s clear words and should not be confused that Mr. Hun Sen said it just to satisfy the donors to grant aid, because when he announced it publicly like this, if not all, at least some corruption can be suppressed in this way, so his words should not be criticized. Thus, officials who have been committing corruption for years have now the opportunity to clean themselves from their previous corruption, to become clean officials respecting the nation.

“Even though there have been some political views that what Mr. Hun Sen had said is just to calm the donors and national and international opinion, as the person who was appointed to be the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is not a person with proper and independent qualifications, but he is just an official who is close to Mr. Hun Sen. But we do not have the same impression like those politicians. Such an impression is not important regarding the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. What is more important is the commitment of the government, and especially of Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader. If he has real commitment, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit will have to implement the anti-corruption law properly.

“The Anti-Corruption law had been delayed for several years before it was sent to the National Assembly to be discussed and adopted in March 2010, and then Mr. Om Yentieng was named as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. If Mr. Hun Sen, the head of the government, is willing to eliminate corruption as he claimed, the Anti-Corruption Unit will act to crack down effectively on corruption at different institutions, ministries, departments, and units according to the law, and also the participation from non-corrupt officials to uncover corrupt officials will to some degree assist to prevent the spreading of corruption.

“Some criticized that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen, so he cannot fight corruption. Such a view seems to be wrong, because the fact that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen will encourage him to be more effective intercepting corruption when Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader, is committed to fight corruption in the government from the top to the bottom. Mr. Om Yentieng must take up the Prime Minister’s order to fight corruption. But one may be afraid that this is easier said than done.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 7 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #497, 6-7.6.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia [in Vietnam]
  • The Number of People Killed by Lightnings Increases to 35 in 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2268, 6-7.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Message to Welcome the New Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Kan Naoto] at the Occasion of Taking Office
  • At Present, Cambodia Grows Tobacco on Only 0.2% of the Agricultural Land Countrywide [over the past ten years, farmers have changed to grow other crops like rubber trees, cassava, and soy beans]
  • The Ministry of Health Plans to Establish Up to 250 Blood Test Centers by 2012 [nowadays, there are 235 around the country]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

  • Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #675, 6-7.6.2010

  • The Plan of Workers to Suspend Work for Three Days [to demand an increase of salaries, and that employers obey the labor law] Is Still Not Canceled

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3899, 7.6.2010

  • The King Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Intervene, to Connect State Electricity for Poor Citizens at Suburbs Who Are Using Electricity of Private Companies and Are Required to Pay the Bills in Dollars [their electricity costs approx. US$0.50 per kilowatt hour – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #187, 7.6.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Cambodia [Mr. Surya Subedi] Comes to Cambodia to Monitor the Court System
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Encourages Support for the Private Sector in Order to Promote Economic Growth

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 6-7.6.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian,] Ms. Mu Sochua Faces Imprisonment if She Does Not Pay the Fine [Riel 16 million or approx. US$3,810 in a defamation case with the Prime Minister]
  • The Commune Fund Has in 2010 Countrywide Nearly US$30 Million [the funds are used to develop and carry out investment projects at all communes – The commune fund is provided by the Royal Government]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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