Free access to free flowing information – Sunday, 27.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

The Constitution of a country is its basic law – all other laws and regulations have to follow the guidelines of the Constitution. The Constitution is also a basic guideline for the citizens of a country, especially in a country where the Constitution declares (inscribed in the name of the people: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA” as its Preamble states): “Cambodian people are the masters of their own country,” living in the Kingdom of Cambodia that has adopted “a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism” as stated in its Article 51. The Constitution, written in 1993 by the elected representatives forming the first National Assembly of the newly established Kingdom of Cambodia, established a high and clear vision for the future after the troubled and violent decades of the past: “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.”

The Constitution lays out also clearly where the responsibility for the destiny of the nation is located: “All power belongs to the people.”

To fulfill the goals laid out is a daily challenge – not just to be celebrated on Constitution Day on 24 September every year, remembering the signing of the new Constitution on 24 September 1993 by King Sihanouk, and not only on the days every five years, when the members of the National Assembly are elected as the legislative power, with the authority over the creation of a new government, through which the people exercise their power.

To fulfill this challenge requires, among others, that the people can know what is going on in the country over which they are the masters: access to correct and transparent information is a fundamental condition for the Constitution to be alive.

The media play an important role in facilitating the access to information. We had the headline this week “Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]” – an indication that there is still work to be done. Some time ago it was also decided that all Ministries shall have an official spokesperson, and there had also been special training events for persons taking on these new roles.

Unfortunately, the situation is often far away from the goal to be achieved. There are regular reports in the press, almost every week, that a reporter calling a Ministry to get some information is directed to a different person, and from there to a third person, and finally the answer is “no information available.” Or after being re-directed to several other sources, the caller ends up with the original contact. Or the called party hangs up as soon as they understand the call is from a journalist.

There are other cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand it, as it is only a partial answer to a public question.

A case of this type of a response is the elaborate response given in the National Assembly by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to an opposition request for clarification about “tea money” paid by foreign oil and mineral exploring companies, about which The Mirror carried a report in the Friday edition. There was, in response to the information given, some praise in the national and international press – but there was also frustration.

“In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.”

But there were no total figures given, no explanation why such payments were not reflected in past accounts of the national budget, and no information about the administration of the Social Fund – who is responsible, and according to which criteria; no NGO could get away with such vague information.

And there are cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand the arguments used and not used.

The demarcation of national borders is an important affair, often loaded not only with practical, but also with emotional elements. Clear, transparent information can always help to defuse a tense situation. Why are then the Khmer authorities prohibiting farmers from doing cultivation on the fields next to the temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo, and people trying to visit the site to verify what is really going on were are prohibited from visiting? We did not find that the media were given the precise geographical coordinates, and detailed mapping reference – why only general reference to some border agreements?

Similarly, but even less transparent, is the argumentation in the following press report:

“An Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation].”

If the original map deposited at the United Nations does not have a grid, showing the geographical coordinates of Latitudes and Longitudes of the depicted locations – how is it possible to determine where the contested border posts are actually located? It is faking the map, if the claim is made that the original maps did contain the grid of geographical coordinates but it actually did not – but it is helping to clarify the situation, if the geographical coordinates of Northern Latitude and Eastern Longitude are later provided so that the place of the border line can be clearly shown. – The legal struggle against the grid on the map seems to criticize that clarifying information is provided, while not saying that the information provided is wrong – nor providing alternative information with the assertion what is right.

That the public handling of information and the access to it is crucial has been underlined again by the top UN officials on 3 May 2010 – marking the annual World Press Freedom Day – calling for the promoting of the universal right to publicly-held information as well as ensuring the safety of all those who work in the media, adding that “some journalists risk intimidation, detention and even their lives, simply for exercising their right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any media, and regardless of frontiers.” That is what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message for the World Press Freedom Day. It is a continuing challenge and a task not yet fulfilled.

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Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.

“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.

“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.

“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.

“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.

“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.

“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.

“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.

“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.

“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
  • During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
  • In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010

  • People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
  • A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
  • Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010

  • Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

  • Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
  • Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010

  • The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]

    It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:

  1. “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
  2. “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
  3. “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”

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The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women – Thursday, 18.2.2010

Posted on 19 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’

“Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly. This is a concern for the government as well as for non-government organizations.

“She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.

“Based on the above issues, Ms. Sy Define called for more publications of laws about rights and other measures that are important for preventing and reducing violence against women, where Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays an important role.

“ICT provides a modern and fast way of communication using computers or mobile phones; it can reach us wherever we are, as far as the communications network extends. It provides easy and quick access to a collection of all kinds of information.

“Regarding this issue, the Executive Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, said that this meeting is really important for reflecting about violence against women and the intersection between this problem and Information and Communication Technology. In many countries around the world, women’s networks and organizations use the Internet and communicate, using these technologies, to share their experiences and to gather resources and support for their activities, and organize for the creation of global strategic actions. She said that in Cambodia, however, most women have not developed the habit and the ability to use the Internet and to communicate through it to support their activities like it happens in other countries.

“She added, ‘Recently, there is more recognition of the intersection between violence against women and the instruments for electronic communication [with computers and mobile phones]. Violence against women and ICT have an impact on establishing fundamental freedoms and human rights.’

“But Ms. Manavy raised also other examples, saying, ‘While mobile phones and websites can benefit women who suffer violence, seeking information and assistance, some wicked persons use the same technology for exploitation, sending images violating women’s rights, which are human rights.’

“Relating to the negative use of ICT, Ms. Sy Define called on women to be aware of this problem and to join together to control it and to use ICT to combat such wrongdoings.

“She emphasized that the government alone cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals for 2010, which state [as Goal 3] ‘Promote gender equality and empower women,’ without cooperation in many fields with non-government organizations and development partners to promote the capacity, knowledge, strength, and courage of women.

“She also asked all women’s and other institutions to join to encourage the use of ICT to help prevent violence against women as well as domestic violence, following the National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women.

“During the meeting held at the Hotel Cambodiana, participants from more than 40 institutions working on women and rights presented their results from separate observations about violence against women and domestic violence, and discussed to share their experiences, knowledge, lessons learned, other strategies, and the use of ICT to prevent violence against women and domestic violence.

“In the three hours meeting, participants offered recommendations and sought to identify key priorities for cooperation between civil society organizations and government institutions to develop joint strategies to effectively prevent violence against women, to encourage gender equality, and to empower women. Ten other organizations cooperated and attended the meeting: Cambodian Women for Peace and Development, the Cambodian Defenders’ Project, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (NGO-CEDAW), the Project Against Domestic Violence, Legal Aid of Cambodia, the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, the Women’s Media Center, Positive Change for Cambodia, Pharmaciens Sans Frontières, and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5129, 18.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #413, 18.2.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Cambodia Never Plants New Mines along the Border [he said so in response to some accusations, especially by Thailand]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Create Senior Citizens Associations Soon in the Eight Districts
  • Seventy One Journalists Were Killed in 2009 Worldwide [including 33 in the Philippines; according to the Committee to Protect Journalists]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2180, 18.2.2010

  • More Than 100 Cleaners at the Angkor Resort [of the Apsara Authority] Protested over the Late Payment of Their Salaries [Siem Reap]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Signed an Agreement to Create a Digital Tribunal [with the Stanford University and the Berkeley War Crimes Study Center of the University of California]
  • Report: America and Pakistan Arrested the Head of the [military wing of the] Taliban

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #605, 18.2.2010

  • A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3811, 18.2.2010

  • Avoiding to Respond to Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians’ Questions [over border issues] Shows the Irresponsibility of the Government

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #114, 18.2.2010

  • Thirty One People Died in Traffic Accidents within the Three Days of the Chinese New Year [in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5129, 18.2.2010

  • The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Ministry of Education Plan to Create a Navigation School to Improve Waterway Traffic Safety [this navigation school is for youth of the next generation to get training, based on proper educational standards to obtain a license. Before, the provision of shipping licenses depended on the testing and questioning previous experience of piloting ships or motor boats, but there was no training offered. Two or three years ago the Phnom Penh port started training for its personnel, but it was not open for the public]
  • The Transport of Luxury Wood in Thala Barivat District Continues without Any Disturbance [by the authorities – Stung Treng]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1876, 18.2.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay Asked [the Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng to Check Road Traffic Police Activities that Establish Illegal Check Points to Extort Money from Citizens [he raised a case near the Chroy Changva bridge where police stop cars or trucks to make them pay money unofficially which they keep for themselves or share some with their next higher level officials]

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Hun Sen Wants Abhisit to Swear that His Whole Family Would Die in a Plane Crash if Siam Claims that It Does Not Encroach on Khmer Territory – Tuesday, 9.2.2010

Posted on 10 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, wants the Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, to swear that his whole family would die in a plane crash if it is true that Siamese [Thai] troops are not invading Khmer territory. This he said in an angry speech, made during his trip to visit the Cambodian troops stationed at the Khmer Ta Moan Thom temple.

“Wearing a military uniform and Five-Star-General insignia during the three days of visiting troops and army commanders at the border region, yesterday, on 8 February 2010, Mr. Hun Sen did not show a smile like during the first day because of wrong publications in the Siamese press and [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva’s irritating remarks.

“At 8:15 a.m. on 8 February 2010, nine helicopters, including one of Mr. Hun Sen and his wife, landed in an area close to the Ta Moan temple to visit troops of Battalion 422 and Brigade 42. During that visit, Siam [Thailand] immediately set up a satellite system to capture the activities and the speech of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“Mr. Hun Sen stated, using [rough] military words, as he always did when he previously criticized an English language newspaper in Siam, The Nation, ‘If you are stupid, do not be journalists that provide wrong information about this visit.’

“Relating to the Siamese troops stationed at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, Mr. Hun Sen stated, ‘As long as you do not withdraw, I still call you ‘invading troops.’ – Mr. Hun Sen severely blasted Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, saying, ‘Though you are criticized like that [like Prim Minister Hun Sen did criticize the Thai Prime Minister before], you do not agree to leave your office. My Five-Star-General insignia were given to me by the King, but not by the Thai King… I blasted you like this, whether it hurts or not – if you responded, I will add more… I would like to send a message to the Thai people that there was never any time where the Thai society was as fractioned as it is in your, Abhisit Vijjajiva’s, era, and the foreign relations are so bad… You used the yellow-shirt demonstrators to help to make a coup [in September 2006. Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva became prime minister much later, in December 2008] and to control the airports…[Bangkok airports were occupied by demonstrators in November 2008]. I ordered the Council of Ministers as well as the Quick Response Team to record my speech properly and to translate it into English.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added his doubt whether Abhisit Vijjajiva would dare to swear that his whole family would die in a plane crash if he would deny that Siamese troops are invading Cambodia. Hun Sen said also that he is not only a militant, but also a creator of militants. He went on to say, ‘I hold the ID 00002, and not fake rank insignia, I would like to tell Abhisit Vijjajiva… you are stupid…You do not have family roots [a despising expression]… Does it disturb your head if I would wear a military uniform for my whole life?… Any clothes I wear, it should not disturb Abhisit Vijjajiva’s head… I wear the Five-Star-General insignia that the King gave me, not the ‘chicken egg-yolk stars’ of Abhisit Vijjajiva. It is not the first time that Hun Sen wears a military uniform. According to my biography, I am originally a militant. Please know Hun Sen well… It has been in 20 speeches that I did not attack you in response to what you said, but you always attack me. Therefore, I will attack you back. If tomorrow you attack me again, I will respond.’

“Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva became the prime minister after big demonstrations held by yellow-shirt demonstrators [supporters], whose color is like the color of chicken egg-yolk. Mr. Hun Sen’s words imply that his Five-Stars-General insignia are not from chicken egg-yolks, which simply means to say that the prime minister position of Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva is the result of the yellow-shirt demonstrators, with the color symbol like chicken egg-yolk.

“A high ranking official of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Thach Setha, commented on Mr. Hun Sen’s speech, saying, ‘It is the personality and attitude of our Prime Minister that he frequently uses to attack his enemies. Thus, we are not surprised with his reaction.’

“A day ahead of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to the border region, there was also a war of words between Phnom Penh and Bangkok, where Siam declared that if Mr. Hun Sen intended to visit the 4.6 square kilometer [contested] area, he must discuss it with Thailand. But officials of the Cambodian government responded that the area is located in Khmer territory, and it is not necessary to discuss it with Siam to visit this area. Anyway, according to published images and to broadcasts of his activities in the local press and in television, Mr. Hun Sen seems not to have appeared inside of the 4.6 [contested] square kilometers.

“But an official of the Council of Ministers had been quoted by a foreign newspaper as saying that for Sunday, it was planned that Mr. Hun Sen would to visit some parts of the 4.6 square kilometer area.

“Based on previous speeches by Mr. Hun Sen and by government officials, Cambodia will not allow even one millimeter of the territory to get lost. But yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen stated repeatedly that Siamese troops encroach on Khmer territory, and he asked Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva whether he dares to swear that his family would die in a plane crash, if it were true what he claims: that Siamese troops do not invade Cambodian territory.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #409, 9.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Pleased with the Metfone Mobile Telephone System [owned by the Vietnamese military, as it provides good services nationwide compared with other telephone companies. He said that for security reasons, all the military division and brigades must be equipped with Metfone cable networks so as to prevent any leaking of secret or confidential military plans, because the Metfone cable network uses underground cables, while other companies use microwave links for long distance connections]
  • Vietnam Intends to Invest in the Stock Exchange, in Agriculture, and in Rural Development in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the president of the National Assembly of Cambodia and a delegation of Vietnamese companies]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2172, 9.2.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: I Wear Military Uniform and It Should Not Disturb [Thai prime minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Head [reacting against Mr. Abhisit’s remarks saying that Mr. Hun Sen wears a military uniform during the visit at the Thai border for a political purpose]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Wants Abhisit to Swear that His Whole Family Would Die in a Plane Crash if Siam Claims that It Does Not Encroach on Khmer Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6879, 9.2.2010

  • Twenty Vietnamese Families Come to Hire Khmer Land to Raise Shrimps [and the local authorities do not care about them, especially about the immigration law; Kompong Trach, Kampot]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

  • The Suppression on Drug Abuse and Smuggling in Poipet Is Not Effective [as these activities continue]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #106, 9.2.2010

  • There Is Food Provided for [more than 100] Street Children [by the Children’s Kitchen, a center that offers breakfast to orphans and poor children – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Plans to Deliver Female Elephants to South Korea [for breeding – it is estimated that Cambodia still has 500 to 600 elephants roaming free]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5121, 9.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: As Long As Thailand Does Not Withdraw from the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, I Still Call You an Invader of Cambodia
  • The State Lacks Money for Investments while the Banks Have an Ample Amount of Money Remaining [each year the government lacks about US$190 million for public investments while private banks have about US$900 million remaining; the Minister of Economy and Commerce suggested that if those private banks would offer money for investments, it would greatly contribute to development]
  • While Watching Television in Their Home, a Man Was Shot Dead and Another One Was Injured by an Unknown Attacker [Svay Rieng]

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The Government of Finland Promised to Grant More Than US$9 Million to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010 – Saturday, 6.2.2010

Posted on 7 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: During the Cambodian development cooperation forum in Phnom Penh from 4 to 5 December 2008, the Government of Finland promised to grant US$9,086,107 to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010.

“The president of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrey Heng Samrin, said so during a meeting with the new Ambassador of the Republic of Finland, Ms. Sirpa Maenpaa, on 5 February 2010 at the National Assembly.

“He added that from 1992 to 2008, Finland has granted more than US$25 million aid to Cambodia. As for the trade relations between both countries, Cambodia exports products to Finland amounting to more than US$1.2 million, and Finland exports products to Cambodia of more than US$1.6 million.

“During the audience with Samdech Heng Samrin after she had submitted her diplomatic credentials to the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the morning of 5 February 2010, the Ambassador of Finland said that as an ambassador, she will encourage closer ties and cooperation between Cambodia and Finland, and the Government of Finland promised to keep on cooperating with Cambodia. Previously, both countries had cooperated in the field of administration and in projects to alleviate poverty among people living around the Tonle Sap Lake. She promised to encourage the Government of Finland to step up aid for Cambodia.

“The new Ambassador of Finland told Samdech Heng Samrin that some members of parliament of Finland plan to visit Cambodia in the middle of March, and they hope to meet with Samdech Heng Samrin and to have working sessions with some of the special committees of the National Assembly of Cambodia.

“Samdech Heng Samrin agreed with these plans and welcomes the upcoming visit from the parliament of Finland.

“Samdech Heng Samrin expressed his gratitude towards Ms. Sirpa Maenpaa, the newly appointed ambassador of the Republic of Finland, for spending her busy time to meet and to greet him. Also, Samdech Heng Samrin explained her the situation of Cambodia and its parliamentary institutions and the legislative process. Summing this up, he said that the current situation in Cambodia is stable and peaceful, thus, favorable for developments in all sectors.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5119, 6.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #407, 6.2.2010

  • One Khmer-Canadian and Two Khmer Accomplices Were Sentenced to Serve Eight Years in Prison and in Addition They Were Fined Riel 8 Million [approx. US$1,900, for Drug Smuggling – Phnom Penn]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2170, 6.2.2010

  • Cambodian Officials Demanded Google to Remove an Illegal Map from Their Website [showing that Cambodia loses some territory at the border]

Note:

Secretary of State at the Cambodia’s Council of Ministers Svay Sitha is quoted to have written to the Internet company Google, which makes maps of the whole world accessible, free of charge, to all Internet users, “We… request that you withdraw the already disseminated, very wrong and not internationally recognized map and replace it.”He calls the map “radically misleading,” “devoid of truth and reality,” and “professionally irresponsible.”

Actually, Google does not claim that its free service represents internationally recognized borders; it specifically posts a disclaimer which says:

  • 6. (a) GOOGLE AND ITS LICENSORS… MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY CONTENT OR THE PRODUCTS.

To illustrate the problem further, we bring several maps or sections of maps, followed by brief explanations.

Google Map

Google Map

Cambodian Claim towards World Heritage Listing

Cambodian Claim towards World Heritage Listing

The section of the Internet Google map of the Preah Vihear area has a white border line between Cambodia and Thailand – though the real border is neither marked nor agreed upon between both countries. The contours of the Preah Vihear Temple can be seen not only on the Google map, but also – the small, narrow shape in light pale red in the middle of the picture on the right– on the map presented by the Cambodian delegation in June 2008, explaining that for the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, Cambodia claims only, at that time, the temple and an area of about 30 meter around the main temple complex, as shown in the map – in light red – signed by the chair of the Cambodia Border Commission.

According to the decisions of the World Heritage Committee of 2008, when the Preah Vihear Temple was listed, this was done together with the following conditions written down in the minutes of this UNESCO commission:

    14.Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards;
    15.Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

  • “a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
  • “b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property;
  • “c) confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
  • “d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan; 16.Further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center by February 2010, for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 a full Management Plan for the inscribed property, including a finalized map.”

We are not aware that anything has been published, when the Cambodian government has invited the participation of the Government of Thailand and others to examine the policy how to operate this World Heritage site, including the map delineating the [contested] buffer zone and the management zones previously identified in presentation of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear, and a progress report about a management plan, including a “finalized map.”

The strong criticism against the Google map is surprising when one compares the maps which the Cambodian government’s Department of Geography produced for years, until recently, and which can be seen in many offices: they do not mention Preah Vihear at all, and the borderline does not even show that the Temple of Preah Vihear lies on Cambodian territory – according to a ruling of the International Court of Justice in 1962. The Google map does reflect this – though without indicating that there are contested buffer zones. The map of the Cambodian government’s Geography Department, issued in 2000, does not reflect this, but shows a borderline just as some Thai nationalists who reject the ruling of 1992 claim it. The Google map is showing Cambodia’s national interests clearer than the maps of the Cambodian government’s Geography Department.

Description of the Map: printed in 2000

Description of the Map: printed in 2000

Preah Vihear not mentioned, border shown in favor of Thailand

Preah Vihear not mentioned, border shown in favor of Thailand



.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #599, 6.2.2010

  • France Criticized the Suspension of the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy and of Opposition Party Parliamentarians in Cambodia
  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaungsuban Ordered the Sisaket Governor and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers to Welcome [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [during his visit at the border on 6 February 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6877, 6-7.2.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador [Ms. Zhang Jinfeng 张金凤] Finished Her Term of Service in Cambodia and Met the Municipal Governor [Mr. Kep Chuktema] to Say Goodbye

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5119, 6.2.2010

  • Bangkok Is Nervous Ahead of the Visit of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to the Border
  • The Government of Finland Promised to Grant More Than US$9 Million to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010
  • A Car Overturned Suddenly, Killing Two People and Injuring Eighteen [Siem Reap]
  • A Leader of the Red-Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Was Shot Dead after Demonstrating in Front of an Army Base

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Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Support Development and Modernization of the Defense Sector – Tuesday, 19.1.2010

Posted on 19 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said on 18 January 2010 that the Royal Government firmly vowed to continue any necessary support to develop and to modernize the national defense sector of Cambodia, so that it has the sufficient, full, and appropriate capacity to comply with the progress and development of the country and the world, in order to promote our Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to be able to fulfill their role and obligation effectively.

“During his speech at the inauguration of the naval base in the Chroy Chongva commune, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh, he said that the Royal Government has carried out reforms which are considered as life-and-death tasks of Cambodia, and it has strengthened the capacity of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to fulfill their duties more effectively as fully professional and expert forces, so that it can participate in various missions.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the implementation of these reforms aims at making the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to have real skills and full capacity to continue to actively cooperate with the international community to prevent and combat terrorisms and other turmoil in the country and abroad, by being committed to implement all necessary measures to effectively prevent and suppress all types of crimes, such as drug smuggling and drug abuse, the trafficking of women and children, robbery, rape, and other offenses that trigger fear in the society and that create instability in Cambodia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that the Royal Government continues to encourage the thorough implementation of various reforms that have been planned so that they become more intensive and fundamental, including the careful and accurate checking of the number of soldiers, and the promotion of their capacity and solidarity, aiming to strengthen the quality and loyalty towards the nation, and to ensure that discipline and clean ethics are respected, with professionalism, and in order to fulfill their duties to protect the territorial integrity of land, sea, and air space, to guarantee national security, national independence, and sovereignty, so as to maintain public order and to protect all achievements of the nation under whatever the circumstances may be.

“As part of caring for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the Royal Government of Cambodia has set up various policies to strengthen a sustainable social safety net, attempting to improve the livelihood of the military personnel and to help them to live happily as civil servants with their families and in their communities. Those measures include vocational training, addressing the problems of the livelihood for discharged soldiers, retired soldiers, soldiers who are not able to continue to work, or handicapped soldiers, and the families of soldiers who offered to sacrifice their lives, now offering them social concession land so that those veterans as well as their families have land to build houses, to create other jobs, and to do land cultivation to support their families and to be able to contribute to national productivity, to promote a stable basis for their lives.

[…]

“Samdech Hun Sen said that in the meantime, the Royal Government always adheres to the policy to consolidate security, stability, and public order for the country in a sustainable way.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2154, 19.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #391, 19.1.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [Mr. Surya Subedi] Said that He Does Not Intend to Criticize Cambodia but He Just Wants to Contribute to Cambodia’s Development
  • The Human Rights Party Parliamentarians Asked Thailand Not to Shoot and Kill Khmer Citizens [who illegally enter Thai territory]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2154, 19.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Support the Development and Modernization of the Defense Sector
  • [Director of Sambok Khmum Radio] Mam Sonando: The 26 Seats of the Sam Rainsy Party Might Melt Away if It Does Not Unite [with other democrats]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #720, 19.1.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Sends All Kinds of Weapons, Food, and Five Regiments to Prepare for Fighting at the Border

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #583, 19.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Wore His Five Stars in Public for the First Time while the Border Situation Is Tense

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6861, 19.1.2010

  • [Two] Murderers Who Shot Dead an Anti-Drug Official in Kompong Cham Were Arrested [one of them admitted that it was due to rancor, because the victim had looked down on his family – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #92, 19.1.2010

  • Viettel Tests Using 3G Service before Providing Them Next Year

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5103, 19.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Authorities Warned They Will Take Action [according to the law] against the Sam Rainsy Party [if its officials maintain their intention to visit two villagers held over the removal of border markers]
  • 66-Year-Old Man Lured Two Girls and Raped Them; One of Them Is His 12-Year-Old Granddaughter [he was arrested – Kandal]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1858, 19.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Court Allows Three Representatives of the Opposition Party Delegates to Visit [two] Citizens Detained over Border Issues
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Canceled His Visit to Cambodia [reason is not given; according to his advisor]

    Note:

    See “Link:” in the Mirror of last Saturday, 16.1.2010.

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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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The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom – Monday, 4.1.2010

Posted on 5 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“A son of a high ranking military officer of the Cambodian government told a foreign newspaper that corruption in Cambodia occurs at present at every section of the society from top to bottom. An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewed a youth whose name is Meas Sophearith, a son of Four-Star-General Meas Sophea, a deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Army of Cambodia, regarding his view about corruption in the Cambodian society.

“According to an article in this newspaper, written by Mr. Andrew Marshall, the young Meas Sophearith, who is studying political science at the University in Alabama in the United States, who has also a place for military studies at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, a son of Mr. Meas Sophea, was quoted as criticizing the present corruption in Cambodian society, saying that corruption exists from top to bottom.

“According to the same source, Meas Sophearith described the situation of corruption in the Cambodian society nowadays, saying that most leaders are corrupt.

“Also, a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia was quoted, to have said for publication in the paper, that a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia owns a most expensive car priced at US$500,000 a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

“Besides the publication about the description of corruption by the young Meas Sophearith, another young man, Ouch Vichet, called Richard, 28, who used to study in New Zealand, spoke in the Australian newspaper about the present show-off culture among the children of the powerful and of the rich in Cambodia.

“The young Vichet was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that if anybody want that the others pay respect, they have to own luxuries and expensive cars, big diamonds, and expensive mobile phones. This young man added that his parents provided him with a residence of US$500,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares as his inheritance, while his parents-in-law gave him US$100,000 and another residence of US$200,000.

“The abundant wealth of high ranking officials, noticed by foreign observers as well as international journalists, where they compete with each other, showing off their luxury cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, helps to form the stereotypes of rich and high ranking officials of present day Cambodia.

“Mr. Andrew Marshall wrote in that Australian newspaper about Ouch Vichet, who said that people of his parents’ generation always kept money under their mattresses, but the children of the next generation keep money in safes in their houses.

“He said they usually keep a lot of money in safes at home, because they do not trust the banks, believing that if they keep their money in the banks, it will be known how much money their families have.

[…]

“The Tuol Kork area of Phnom Penh is compared to the Beverly Hills area of Hollywood in the United States, where there are, in Phnom Penh, many modern residences of high ranking officials, including of children of the prime minister, surrounded by high and sharp razor wire fencing.

“The same paper wrote that the residence of young Meas Sophearith, a son of General Meas Sophea, is carefully guarded by special forces soldiers.

“The young Meas Sophearith as well as Ouch Vichet, a businessman, who haves relations with the powerful and the rich of the country, are among the three sources that Mr. Andrew Marshall relied on for the article ‘Khmer Riche.’ The third person, Sophy, a child of a Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Mr. Hun Sen, is another source that Mr. Andrew Marshall depended upon to write about the showing off of luxury livelihood of children of high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia, while millions of Khmer common citizens live under the poverty line, though hundreds of millions of dollars of aid have been provided each year.

“The young Meas Sophearith told the Australian newspaper that he has a plan to create a foundation to help children of the poor to have a chance to study abroad, like the children of the powerful and of the rich. However, he stressed that they have to wait until their parents grow old.

[…]

“The young Meas Sophearith is not the only person who wants to see changes from what happens at present, but needs to wait until their parents grow old, or people from the old generation retire. Whether he can fulfill his intention to create a foundation to help the poor or not is another problem. [The original source is quoted here.]

[…]

“The account by a son of a high ranking official about corruption, which occurs from top to bottom, and by Mr. Ouch Vichet about how money is normally kept by high ranking officials and by the rich, is another source of information related to the question why the government is very late in adopting an anti-corruption law.

“Corruption is recognized, and the wealth of the high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia are kept in the safes at their houses, rather than at local and foreign banks. Therefore, can an anti-corruption law be adopted and can it be efficient to uncover the faces of corrupt officials, or expropriate wealth stolen from the nation, to become money to benefits the nation?”
[…]Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #376-278, 1-4.1.2010

  • [The Cambodian] Ambassador in Thailand Called the Editor of the The Nation Stupid [after the newspaper’s editor criticized the Cambodian Prime Minister in an article Hun Sen’s Vanity is a Danger to Regional Solidarity published on 29 December 2009, which said, “Hun Sen should know for a fact that the person who is really capable of toppling him is his recently appointed economic adviser – Thaksin Shinawatra. In the early 1990s, everybody knew that Thaksin, as a business tycoon, was involved in a short-lived plot to dislodge Hun Sen because of a conflict of interest over mobile telephone contracts.”]
  • During the Whole Year [of 2009] Cambodia Implemented 1,191 Projects to Develop the Country [reference is to cooperation with development partners like the UN, the EU, Japan, etc.]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2139-2141, 1-4.1.2010

  • The National Election Committee Published the Results of the Election Name List Checking in 2009 [there were 8,331,906 voters listed]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Vowed to Vigorously Protect the Throne [after the King promoted him to the rank of a five-star-general]
  • A Thai Army Commander Confirmed in Front of the Cambodian Army Commander to Let the Border Issues Be Solved by Both Countries’ Governments

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom
  • [The Opposition Party parliamentarian] Mr. Sam Rainsy: Those Who Were Behind the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1999 Are Those Who Are at Present Controlling the Power

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6846-6848, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Welcome for the Universal New Year 2010 in Cambodia This Year Was Different from the Previous Year as It Was Celebrated by More People in More Places [in Cambodia]
  • The [Svay Rieng] Municipal Court Dropped Questioning Three Suspects over the Removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [they are no longer under arrest]
  • In 2009 There Were 44 Fires in Phnom Penh Which Killed 2 People
  • Seventy Six Journalists Were Murdered in 2009 [compared to 2008, when 60 were murdered worldwide, according to the Reporters without Borders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #80-81, 1-4.1.2010

  • A Military Chief Who Was Involved in Illegal Wood Transport Was Released [by just paying a fine of US$1,500; he had been arrested for blocking the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports – Battambang]
  • The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Starts Operations Today [1 January 2010] – What Will Cambodia Get?
  • The Court Ordered the Arrest of Three More Citizens over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers in Svay Rieng
  • Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia Increased by 2% in 2009 [to 2.18 million, while in 2008, there were 2.12 million]

Note:

The China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.

“The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of traded goods is expected to extend between China and four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.” [Source]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5088-5090, 1-4.1.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Rejected to Enter Politics but Wants to Serve the Nation More [he said he could serve as a diplomat, as an adviser to the prime minister, as a lecturer on law, or related to cultural affairs]
  • An Old Man [69 years old] Raped Three Girls [10, 11, and 14 years old sisters] – He Was Arrested by Military Police to Be Sent to Court [Battambang]
  • Forty Two Packages of Heroin Worth Half a Million Dollar Were Seized [in Phnom Penh, but the ring leader of the smugglers is not yet found; Cambodia was removed from a drug black list of the international community]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1846, 1.2.1.2010

  • Mr. Rong Chhun Was Elected [again] as President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #333, 11.11.2009

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #672, 11.11.2009

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6802, 11.11.2009

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5044, 11.11.2009

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

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Bangkok Got Angry and Downgraded the Cambodian-Thai Diplomatic Relations to the Lowest Level – Friday, 6.11.2009

Posted on 7 November 2009. Filed under: Week 637 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

“Immediately after the Cambodian government appointed Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s and the government’s adviser, Bangkok was angry and summoned its ambassador back to Thailand as a so-called diplomatic retaliation. The Thai ambassador left Cambodia in the night of 5 November 2009. In response, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, summoned the Cambodian ambassador to return to Phnom Penh. He considers that this is a normal reciprocity measure between government and government. Regarding this diplomatic dispute, there has not been any new report about border tensions between the two countries.

“Relating to Thailand recalling its ambassador, Mr. Sok An said that this is not the cutting off of diplomatic ties. When Thailand sends its ambassador to Cambodia again, we will send our ambassador to Thailand. He explained that there is no problem in the relations between both countries’ citizens and in commerce.

“He noted that Thailand did so, following a demand from the yellow-shirt group [of government supporters].

“He explained also that it is an internal affairs of Cambodia to nominate Thaksin Shinawatra, and Cambodia had appointed foreigners as advisers before, for example the current president of South Korea. He had also been an adviser of Samdech Dekchor.

“He criticized that Thailand has hurt Cambodia by sending troops to invade the Preah Vihear border areas in Cambodian territory. The second point is that when Cambodia proposed to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site, Thailand had sent partisans to disturb it.

“Contrastingly, [Thai] Deputy Prime Minister Sutheb Thaugsuban asked, ‘What would Cambodia think if Thailand nominated [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy as adviser?’ Mr. Sok An answered, ‘Cambodia would welcome such a nomination, because Cambodia has a citizen appointed by foreign country. Therefore, Thai people should be happy as one of their citizens is named adviser.’

“The decision of the Bangkok government to summon their diplomatic official like this, pushed the diplomatic ties between both countries to fall to a terrible level, threatening even political, economic, and cultural relation between both countries, as well as the solidarity in ASEAN.

“Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva said that Thailand summoned their ambassador back to Bangkok as a sign of first diplomatic retaliation toward Cambodia for appointing Thaksin Shinawara as adviser, and for rejecting to extradite him. He said that Thailand wants Cambodia to know the dissatisfaction of the Thai people.

“Immigration officials at the Phnom Penh International Airport said that the Thai ambassador boarded the plane at around 9:00 p.m. to travel back to Bangkok.

“Political analysts said that the decision of the Bangkok government will make ASEAN to be viewed as a quite fractioned institution, making the initative to establish the ASEAN community by 2015 to be in hazard, and it is necessary that there is a regional mechanism to restore the situation.

Cambodian Troops Are Prepared to Defend the Country from an Invasion

“At the border, the commander of special Intervention Unit 3, Mr. Srey Dek, said that the Cambodian troops are always on alert. He added, ‘If they dare to enter only half a millimeter, we will attack (open fire) immediately. But he said that so far, there is nothing abnormal.

“The Banteay Meanchey governor, Mr. Ung Oeung, said that the border situation remains normal. But there might be some psychological war coming relating to border closings. But there is nothing visible yet.

Thaksin Is Happy while Abhisit Is Pale

“The Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, said on Thursday that he accepted the position as economic adviser of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and he expressed appreciation toward Prime Minister Hun Sen for offering this honorable position. He said on his website, ‘I can refresh my brain while I am not yet able to serve the Thai people. I will ask for the permission from Thai people to provide economic advice to the Cambodian government, based on the appointment by King Sihamoni, until I can go back to my country. In fact, I have already become adviser of a government. I accept this position in order to keep my brain to remain fresh, otherwise it would become lame if I don’t keep it up to obtain new ideas and new developments. I want to work with the Thai people, but I cannot. The Thai government does not even allow me to carry a Thai passport.’

“Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra added, ‘Our neighbor is not an enemy. We must be close to each other forever. It is good that we are friends.’

“In the mean time, a legal adviser of Mr. Thaksin, [the former minister of foreign affairs who resigned after the high court found he had violated the Thai constitution] Mr. Noppadon Pattama, spoke to the former prime minister, regarding the issue that Thaksin Shinawatra feels that he has received a great honor, and he will provide advice on how to solve Cambodia’s economic problems and overcome poverty.

“Mr. Noppadon Pattama added that it is not necessary that Mr. Thaksin comes to live in Cambodia, because he can give advice through the telephone or the Internet. He said, ‘Thaksin Shinawatra has no plan to go to Cambodia at this time. Therefore, the government needs not worry or feel afraid, because it is not a political affair or seeking asylum. Mr. Hun Sen decided to appoint Thaksin, because he sees his value and ability.’

“Nevertheless, Thailand does not understand it as Mr. Noppadon does. On 5 November 2009, Thailand summoned their ambassador back to their country immediately as a move of disapproval of Cambodia for offering a position to Thaksin.

“The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva said to journalist, ‘We have summoned our ambassador as the first diplomatic retaliation toward the Cambodian government so as to let the Thai people’s dissatisfaction known. The announcement of the Cambodian governments disrespects the legal system, and does influence the feeling of the Thai public.

“Abhisit said also that [Thai] aid for Cambodia will be suspended also, but the border between both countries are still open, and the relations between the people will not be affected.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5040, 6.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 November 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2091, 6.11.2009

  • Cambodia and Thailand Decided to Downgrade Their Diplomatic Ties; [the Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Thanks Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen after He Was Nominated Adviser
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Attract More Japanese Investors to Cambodia [during his visit to attend the Mekong-Japan summit in Tokyo on 6 and 7 November 2009]
  • Sihanoukville Governor, Mr. Sbang Sarath Was Accused because of Illegal Constructions

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #523, 6.11.2009

  • The Khmer Government Rejected the Demand of Siam [Thailand] to Control Two Thirds of Seabed Mineral Resources
  • The Sam Rainsy Party: The Prime Minister Does Not Deal with the Existing Internal Affairs of Cambodia, but Thinks about Siamese [Thai] Issues

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6798, 6.11.2009

  • The Thai Prime Minister [Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva] Summoned the [Thai] Ambassador Back, to Leave Cambodia, and He Opposes Thaksin Shinawatra’s Nomination [as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s and the governments economic adviser]
  • The Appeal Court Will Hold a Hearing This Morning over the Acid Attack Case [where the actress In Soklida’s aunt was attacked]
  • [More than 200] Romorque Motos [and Tuk-Tuk] Drivers Protested in Front of the Municipality to Demand a Delay to Make Number Plates and to Fine Them
  • A Man like an Animal Raped Three Daughters Two Times Each [he was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • Within More Than One Week, Four People Were Killed by Murderers [four perpetrators were arrested – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #40, 6.11.2009

  • The Diplomatic War between Cambodia and Thailand Regarding Thaksin Shinawatra’s Case Leads to the Withdrawal of the Respective Ambassadors
  • The Government Explained the Increase of the Military Budget [from US$223 million in 2009 to US$277 million in 2010 to civil society organizations, saying that the budget will be used to strengthen the national defense capacity in order to improve the military sector in Cambodia; however, civil society representatives said that the government should address root problems in the military sector, rather than increase the budget]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Announced to Lodge Complaints [at international institutions, against neighboring countries] over the Loss of Territory

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5040, 6.11.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announced Places in 19 Cities and Provinces for Investigations over the Case 002 [involving five Khmer Rouge leaders: Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan, and Nuon Chea]
  • More Than 300 ATM Machines of Different Banks Have Been Set Up in Cambodia
  • Guards of Fishing Lot Number 10 Shot a Man to Death [two perpetrators were arrested and police is seeking to arrest another guard – Kampong Chhnang]
  • Wild Animals [67 turtles and 22 pythons] Loaded in a Car from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh Were Seized by Moung Russey District Police [the car driver was arrested – Battambang]

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