Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies – Monday, 17.5.2010

Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: Civil society organizations working in Cambodia asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to temporarily stop providing economic concession land to private companies, because these provisions affect the life of many citizens.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia and a special Housing Rights Task Force said in their statement that by now, the Royal Government of Cambodia has offered concession land to many local and foreign private companies. It is noticed that the provisions are not in line with the Land Law, Article 59, which states, ‘Concession land can be allocated only up to a maximum of 10,000 hectares per case.’ However, there are cases that many areas of concession land with more than 10,000 hectares were delivered to different companies that are owned by only one person.

“The statement of these civil society organizations mentioned also irregularities relating to the provision of economic concession land and suggested to the government to temporarily halt providing concession land to private companies until the government can guarantee the protection and respect of legal provisions, and they asked the government to check the existing concession land arrangements, and to cancel illegal concession land contracts if found.

“In the meantime, civil society organizations asked the government to publicize and to update information about the provisions of economic concession land on the website of the Royal Government.

“The head of the Investigating Unit of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Ny Chakriya, said during the press conference held in the morning of 12 May 2010 at the Sunway Hotel, that according to observations, the provision of economic concession land has affected the life of many citizens, especially when companies started to use machinery to clear land before they get economic concession licenses from the Royal Government. He added that what is also noticeable is that some companies have the right to order armed forces to protect their land, and most such forces protect the benefits of those companies rather than protecting the benefits of the citizens.

“Also the Executive Director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said during the conference that the provision of economic concession land cannot be over 10,000 hectares according to the land law, and so far, ‘we have seen that those who had been provided with concession land, whatever mistakes they may have committed, they did not get punished.’ Those who sign to provide concession land continue to do things just as they like, as they know that they will not be punished. To change this, the Royal Government must determine penalties for institutions having the authority to provide concession land.

“In the evening of 12 May 2010, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach representatives of the Royal Government and of the Ministry of Agriculture for comments regarding the suggestions of those civil society organizations.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 17 May 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1439, 13-14.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Called on Troops to Protect the Forest and Land in the Area of Their Bases

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #476-479, 13-17.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Raised by Siam [Thailand] Saying that Cambodia Does Not Respect the Memorandum in 2000 Much [it was signed by the two governments to recognize the integrity and the territory of both countries, based by treaties and pacts recognized internationally – a source where to find the text of the 2000 Memorandum was not given]
  • The Lawyer of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Stand with [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua at the Supreme Court on 2 June 2010 [over the defamation case filed by the Prime Minister]
  • Diarrhea in Kompong Cham Increased to 251 Cases
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Canceled the Plan for Elections on 14 November 2010 and Ordered 80 Tanks to Suppress Red-Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the government – after the demonstrators had rejected the condition for the elections: that the protesters have to start to end their blockades]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

  • Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies
  • The Prime Minister Called on Citizens to Be Careful while the Weather Is Abnormally Hot [especially sanitation is important, as recently there are cases of diarrhea happening in some provinces]
  • Nearly of the 40,000 AIDS Patients [92%] Received ARV Medicines from the Ministry of Health
  • The Prime Minister Warned Army Commanders to Report in Detail about the Border Situation, neither to Exaggerate, nor to Understate the Reality
  • The Royal Government Decided to Take 640,000 Hectares of the Flooded Forest Area around the Tonle Sap Lake for Conservation
  • An 8-Year-Old Dutch Boy Survived, while 103 People Were Killed in Libyan Plane Crash

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #655, 15.5.2010

  • Global Witness Asked International Donors to Press [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Government [to ensure that all money collected from the selling of natural resources’ exploration rights will be recorded in the national budget, and be allocated in a way beneficial to the Khmer citizens]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6954-6957, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Construction of the Phnom Penh-Cho Ray Hospital (Bệnh viện Chợ Rẫy) Worth About US$40 Million Was Started [with investments by the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Investment Joint Stock company and the Sok Kong Import Expert company]
  • Villagers Get Sick and Died and Barriers Were Put to Ban Outsiders to Go in; Since April Seventeen People Died in Siem Pang District [Stung Treng – vomiting and “diarrhea” denying it is Cholera]
  • The King Plans to Visit Japan for Five Days [from 16 to 20 May 2010]
  • Traveling Was Banned in Bangkok; Clashes between Soldiers and Protesters Resulted in 25 Deaths and 200 Injured People
  • [Conservative leader] Mr. David Cameron Becomes the New Prime Minister of England

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3881, 17.5.2010

  • Land Concessions Are a Concern of Citizens Who Own No Land for Cultivation

Phendei Khmer, Vol.8, #36, 19-25.5.2010

  • A Horrific Accident: A Bus Struck a Korean Made Truck, Killing Four People and Injuring Thirty Three Others [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #170-172, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Bring Justice for Khmer Citizens
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage in Four Provinces [Kompong Cham, Kratie, Ratanakiri, and Stung Treng; so far, 34 people died – health officials continue to claim it is not Cholera]
  • The Kompong Thom Authorities Wait for a Decision from the Ministry of Agriculture to Provide Rice Fields to Former Kroya Villagers [who were evicted since 2009 – Kompong Thom]
  • Khmer Krom Citizens Asked for Permission [from the Phnom Penh Municipality] to Celebrate the [61st] Anniversary of the Loss of Land [to Vietnam; at the park in front of Wat Botum on 4 June 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct 12 Roads in the Boeng Kak Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5196-5199, 13-17.5.2010

  • The United Nations Sees that the Economic Situation of Cambodia Is Better Than 2009 [the economic growth of Cambodia is predicted to be 4%]
  • A Bus of the Cambodia Angkor Express Carrying Tourists Hit a Motorbike, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Two Others [Phnom Penh]
  • Lightning Hit a Villa and Tropical Storm Destroyed More Than 40 Houses in Siem Reap

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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More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions – Friday, 6.3.2009

Posted on 10 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian microfinance officials said that the number of citizens getting loans from microfinance institution in Cambodia belong to over one million families among the more than three million families in the country.

“The director and general manager of the Microfinance Institution Sthapana Limited, Mr. Bun Mony [also a member of the board of the Cambodian Microfinance Association], told journalists at the Hotel Cambodiana on Thursday morning that in 2007, there were 18 microfinance institutions with a total capital of US$271 million, providing small-scale capital for Cambodian citizens. In 2008, capital to lend to citizens rose up to US$437 million, which was an increase by 61%. He added that this growth had increased for several years between 60% and 80%.

“He went on to say that at present, more than one million Cambodian families have received loans from different microfinance institutions – counted in December 2008. Among one million families, he assumes that in every family involved, each one receives capital for family supplies; recent figures shows that there are more than three million families in Cambodia. He continued to say, “According to my own calculations, 35% of Cambodian families gain benefits from microfinance.’

“Regarding the global economic crisis, Mr. Bun Mony said, ‘In 2009, we face a somewhat tense situation when we try to expand our loan programs. We cannot expect to achieve 50% to 60% growth like in previous years, but the expansion will decline to only between 10% to 20%.’ He explained that this problem relates to the sources of capital, because we do not yet have enough capital ourselves, while big countries are facing a crisis. It leads also to a slowdown for our country.

“Mr. Bun Mony explained the extent to which the financial crisis affects loan distributions, saying that this crisis affects every country and it affects also Cambodia. As for the microfinance sector, it is heavily affected, because around 80% of the present capital sources from which loans are received for citizens to develop the economy come from foreign countries. While even economically rich countries have a crisis, we are affected. That means we will face difficulties to seek additional sources of capital to strengthen our microfinance activities.

“He went on to say, ‘The difficulties that we are facing is to find sources of capital. Therefore, we have to do something to maintain the sustainability of capital sources, to support sustainable economic development. We all saw that we must strengthen our management to promote trust from the community of international investors, so that they trust the market in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Bun Mony said also, ‘All are challenged by this tense situation. Not only the citizens, also the microfinance institutions and the providers of capital.’ He added that before the financial crisis, 50 banks came to seek opportunities for investment in Cambodia – that is, they provided us loans, since they trust our microfinance systems: there are only 18 licensed institutions, but we have more than 50 capital providers.

“Mr. Bun Mony described what happened to this sector after Cambodia had new financial regulations [requiring a higher cash retention rate]: ‘After we had this new financial regulation, there was no operator saying that they have loans for us.’

“Regarding what the government did to help this sector, Mr. Bun Mony said that previously, he had asked the government to ease restrictions on the local sources of capital, but the government found it difficult to help us. He added that microfinance institutions are absolutely private sector institutions.

“Relating to aid from the government, he said that he received no response from the government, because he had never raised it to the government.

“The chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Microfinance Association, Mr. Huot Eng Tong, said that in the present global financial situation, the microfinance sector is suffering serious impacts. ‘Anyway, I strongly hope that the finance sector will receive support from all sides to encourage microfinance institutions to achieve further development and success.’

“Mr. Huot Eng Tong added that this sector plays a crucial role to develop the country, to help Khmer citizens to create, expand, and improve their economic activities, in agriculture, and in population centers and in rural areas, to offer citizens job opportunities, to alleviate poverty, and to provide cheaper financial resources at rural areas than the bigger private sectors do, the institutions with higher interest rates.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #131-132, 5-6.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Apologizes [to the public] for the Late Closure of Gambling
  • Samdech Prime Minister: [former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Will Be the 10th Deputy Prime Minister [heading drug control administration]
  • Asian Human Rights Committee [based in Hong Kong]: Cambodia Should Have an Organization’s Law
  • Cambodia Will Create the Position of a Military Attaché at the [Cambodian] Embassy in the United States of America [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Two Men Raped a 13-Year-Old Girl and Left Her Get Lost in the Forest [police have not yet arrested the two men although there are indications from the victim’s family – Kompong Thom]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1890, 6.3.2009

  • The European Community Announces New Aid to a Food-for-Work Program in Cambodia [worth approx. US$17 million]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6595, 6.3.2009

  • USAID Provides US$21 Million to Promote Economic Growth
  • Preah Vihear Authorities Start Building Steps to the Preah Vihear Temple
  • In the Northeast of Thailand Is Khmer Surin

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

  • More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions
  • The National Assembly Will Restore Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • Two Months in Early 2009: 16 Factories Closed, 11 Factories Opened, and 16 Factories Suspended Their Work
  • The Korean Ambassador [Mr. Shin Hyun-Suk – 신현석, 申 鉉 錫] Said that despite the Global Economic Crisis, Korea Still Helps Cambodia
  • Ten US Private Companies Come to Check Potential for Future Investment in Cambodia
  • A Man Killed His Colleague and Wrote a Note before Escaping [saying that he killed in self defense, and that he will commit suicide – police are seeking him – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Criticizes Israeli Plan to Demolish Many Houses of Palestinian Citizens

Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8009, 6-8.3.2009

  • [The Director General of the National Police] General Net Savoeun Digs Out Big Criminal Cases Again [it is not mentioned which ones]; Samdech Hun Sen Sets Two Important Strategies to Reform the National Police Institution [1. Reduce crimes to control social security, and 2. Reduce inactivity of police which makes people not to trust police competence]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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