Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money – Monday, 23.8.2010

Posted on 24 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: State income declines, because some members of the authorities and customs officers take monetary advantage from the import of contraband and they put the money into their own pockets. After they receive bribes, they allow merchants to import these goods smoothly.

“According to regular observations at the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point in Ou Chrov district in Banteay Meachey, merchants do not pay money to the state, but to a group of members from various authorities or to customs officers.

“It should be noted that many gas tubes of merchants, with no taxes paid to the state, are massively imported but those merchants pay money to illegal check points along the way where soldiers, police and customs officers collect money. Each truck loaded with gas tubes has to pay them from US$30 to US$50, depending on how big or small the trucks are, so that they are not held up by these officers.

“According to trustworthy information that Kampuchea Thmey received from the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point, many merchants pay money to officers along the way instead of paying taxes. Some gas companies complained that they cannot sell their gas gainfully, as other merchants import a lot of gas without paying taxes and sell it at cheaper prices. Therefore, it is really difficult at present for companies working legally to sell their goods.

“Regarding to the above cases, some legally operating gas companies ask the heads of custom offices to help crack down on such activities. Particularly, the Ministry of Commerce should help to normalize the problem, otherwise state income will certainly drop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon Is Already Prepared to Solve the Border Disputes between Cambodia and Thailand [according to the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Farhan Haq]

Note:

The Cambodian press report reads too much into the release by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING, FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, Friday, August 20, 2010, carry at the end a brief note:

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CAMBODIA AND THAILAND WILL RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE THROUGH DIALOGUE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue. He stands ready to help the parties.

On 20 August 2010 a publication in the region had reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, ‘The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.’”

The added explanation, “when both sides request him to do so” is almost a standard response – it is a polite, clear expression that no action will be taken if such a request comes only from one of the two sides.

But even this press report way rejected by Mr. Farhan Haq: he said that the report that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate. He said that all he sent out was that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon “stands ready to help.”

What counts until now is the brief final note at the end, after several elaborate reports about other world affairs, in the official release of the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING of 20 August 2010.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7041, 23.8.2010

  • There Are 454 Hotels with 23,349 Rooms in Cambodian, Where Eight Are Five-Star Hotels
  • Australia Provided aid [AUD 4 Million or approx. US$ 3.60 Million] for the Construction of Justice Police Buildings [in five provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3965, 23.8.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #37, 22-23.8.2010

  • The Royal Group [of Oknha Khit Meng] Plans to Invest US$2 Billion on Rung Island [the investment project of the Royal Group was approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in 2008, and the company is seeking additional investment capital. It aims at attracting high class tourists to visit the island. The first phase of the project will have been finished within five years from now, to create an international airport, port, hotels, a golf course, and other recreation facilities for tourism – according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuon Narong]
  • Police Intercepted [two] Robbers Allegedly Involved in Almost 20 Robberies in Phnom Penh
  • Two Male Construction Workers Were Attacked with Acid over an Alleged Love Affair [the second acid attach in Phnom Penh in four days]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #242, 23.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Is Ready to Negotiate with [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen over Border Disputes [during the Asia Europe Summit in Brussels in October 2010]
  • The Prime Minister Warned He Will Remove Officials Who Irregularly Intervene in the Process of Making Appointments and to Change Them
  • A Trade Union Criticized a Sub-Decree about the Employment for Handicapped People [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the government creates this policy just to make it look good, though many disabled people are victims of land grabbing – according to the sub-decree all state institutions and ministries have to recruit 2% of their staff from disabled people, and the private sector has to employ at the rate of 1%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5283, 22-23.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Nearly US$9 Million for the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Program [to help strengthen the capacity of the National Climate Control Committee and the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment, to coordinate the formation of national policies and strategic plans about climate change]
  • 183 Kilogram of Snakes [for export to Vietnam] Were Seized from Merchants and Were Released into the Vaiko River [three suspects were arrested – Svay Rieng]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers – Friday, 30.7.2010

Posted on 31 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Trade unions agreed that they should have only one voice to negotiate with enterprises if disputes take place.

“The head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said on Thursday, 29 July 2010, that in a meeting about the draft of a Trade Union Law it was suggested by the government that in an enterprise, even though there are many trade union representatives [there are by now 49 different labor federations and associations], there should be only one person chosen to negotiate with the employer. He went on to say that there is no adequate opportunity provided for trade unions to voice their opinion responding to the government and to the Ministry of Labor that created that draft. He said that this law is restrictive and leaves less power to trade unions when they act to support workers.

“The head of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr. Vong Sovann, said on Thursday that a closed door meeting had found that this draft states the obligations of workers and of employers. He said, ‘We think that the draft should be changed to a [general] law on “expert organization,” but it is just our idea and we will send it to the government after the meeting.’ He added that trade unions want the government to consider this and to remove some points. He said, ‘There should not be a requirement to state the financial situation of a union to the Ministry. The draft might rather suggest that trade unions have to be transparent for their members, which is not a problem.’

“Mr. Vong Sovann does not agree with the requirement that legally registered trade unions will have to register again after the draft will have been adopted. Therefore, the meeting will suggest to the government to remove this point. He said, ‘If strikes or demonstrations due to labor conflicts happen, the law should not consider them as crimes which might lead to the arrest of some representatives of the workers.’ Trade union representatives met to discuss also some important key issues like strikes, unjust implementation of the labor law, penalty conditions, and the court system.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

http://www.camfeba.com/

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2314, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Considers Duch’s 35 Year Imprisonment as Insufficient [but he has to serve 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment; he was responsible to oversee the murder of more than 10,000 people in the Tuol Sleng Prison]
  • A Deputy Director of a [Natural Resources and Biodiversity Protection] Organization Was Arrested for Raping an Underage Girl Twice [she is 14 years old, Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7021, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Released a Report about Cooperation in Cambodia [which focuses on human rights, good governance, and climate change; there was also discussion about the release of European Union Blue Books, written about the support of the European Union in various important sectors, part of its commitment to encourage transparency and to promote understanding about extensive development programs of the European Union]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3945, 30.7.2010

  • Cambodia Announced to Use Troops to Withstand Siamese [Thai] Ambitions to Take Control of the 4.6 Square Kilometers around the Preah Vihear Temple

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #17, 30.7.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Set a Time to Walk Out from the UNESCO Meeting [of the World Heritage Committee, which is to make a final decision at 10:00 p.m. [no time zone given] on 29 July 2010 about the Cambodian management plan for the Preah Vihear Temple region; the Thai Prime Minister said that Thailand has prepared troops to withstand Cambodian troops if the border dispute at the Preah Vihear region would becomes more tense]
  • The Ministry of Agriculture Drafted a Sub-Decree about Agriculture Related Contracts for the First Time [in order to promote trust between farmers and companies]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

  • Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers
  • A Hyundai Truck Assembly Factory in Koh Kong Will Begin Its Operations in September 2010
  • The National Assembly Asked the Apsara Authority to Check Requests of Citizens [from 1,255 families, to allow them to reconstruct their houses and selling stalls]
  • The United Nations Declared that the Right of Access to Clean Water Is Also Human Right

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5263, 30.7.2010

  • HAEDA City Group [from South Korea] Starts the Angkor Resort City Project with US$470 Million as Capital [to construct a four-star hotel, condos, a golf course, a commercial center, a supermarket, a health center, etc.]
  • The National Assembly Decided to Withhold Money of [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua’s Salary [as compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America – Monday, 24.5.2010

Posted on 25 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the US Embassy on 21 May 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Scot Marciel, and a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Ouch Borith, chaired the third annual discussion between Cambodia and the United States of America. Both delegations discussed many topics, such as US aid to Cambodia, food security, climate change, security cooperation, and general issues in the region.

“US aid to Cambodia aims to assist the priority sectors of the Royal Government of Cambodia as stated in the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of the Cambodia to help develop Cambodia in the upcoming decades. Those sectors are poverty alleviation, agriculture, good governance, and capacity building. The US aid for those priority sectors is the same as that provided by the USA 60 years ago when the aid program of the United States of America began in 1955.

“Both sides discussed also different strategies where both countries can cooperate, like in military relations, when the US medical ship USS Mercy will arrival at the Sihanoukville sea port on 15 June 2010. Mr. Marciel also talked about the US aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and listened to the description of Secretary of State Ouch Borith about the achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia in reducing poverty, promoting education and the health sector, strengthening basic infrastructure, and addressing some challenges from the global economic crisis. The Cambodian side informed Mr. Marciel also about the efforts of Cambodia to fight corruption and to reform the court system.

“This bilateral discussion provided also the opportunity for both sides to review the planning to organize the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties. The anniversary will be celebrated by organizing some events in July. The bilateral ties between Cambodia and the United States of America have progressed much by now, especially during the last 10 years. Even though there had been some unavoidable disagreements, both sides believe that the depth and extent of the relations will continue to grow stronger in the future.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 24 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #485, 23-24.5.2010

  • The King Returns from the Visit to Japan
  • 160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2256, 23-24.5.2010

  • Cambodia Dismissed the Information that Khmers Joined to Burn Down the Krung Thep Bank [Bangkok]
  • A Military Truck Loaded with 63 Pieces of Ebony Was Intercepted, Showing Some Irregularities [it is suspected that the material belongs to a powerful military official in Kompong Speu]
  • Seven Garment Workers Died and 32 Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident [in Takeo]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #770, 24.5.2010

  • USAID Says that Cambodia Loses US$45 Million, but [Oknha] Mong Riththy Said Cambodia Loses US$146 Million over the Import of Pigs without Paying Tax

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

  • The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America
  • A Reporter of Voice of America Reporting in Khmer [Mr. Sok Povkhemara] Received an Award [of Mr. David Burke for covering special information about Khmer Rouge leaders: he went directly to the northwest of Cambodia to interview five former Khmer Rouge leaders, questioning them a lot about their role in the genocidal regime]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3887, 24.5.2010

  • There Are No Discussions to Happen to Cancel the US$315 Million Dept [that Cambodia owes the United State of America] during the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Cambodia-America Diplomatic Ties
  • The Number of Tourists Increased [by 10% compared with four months last year], so that the Siem Reap Authorities Force Sites Trading Recyclable Items [discarded bottles, carton, scrap metal, plastic] to Move Out from the City [these sites look messy, affecting the beauty of the city]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #177, 24.5.2010

  • The Authorities Prohibit Villagers [in the Amleang commune] to Cultivate Rice, but They Allow a [Phnom Penh Sugar] Company [of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] to Clear Disputed Land [Kompong Speu]
  • Cambodia Asked Thailand to Release a Khmer Worker Accused of Having Been Involved in Demonstrations

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5205, 23-24.5.2010

  • An American Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with [underage] Girls [in Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Will Host the 30th ASEANPOL [ASEAN Chiefs of Police] Conference [from 24 to 28 May 2010 in Phnom Penh]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Malaysian “Investments” – Saturday, 15.5.2010

Posted on 17 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

I welcome to see Comments in response to publications on The Mirror. When there are Comments, I consider them not as “Letters to the Editor,” but as comments, and I hope other readers may also comment on the Comments.

But the the special situation of this week allows me to respond directly to one comment in detail.

In response to our translated article headline “Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products” on Monday, 10.5.2010, there was the following Comment noted:

“Do you find this investment not good to your country??”

The “you” is obviously not myself, but the journalist of Khmer Amatak who wrote the article – or all readers in Cambodia. But I will present some subsequent information from the local press.

Before the Billion-Dollar – US$! – deals were signed, there was not much known about their content, only that they would have a total volume of about US$1 billion. This is somewhat surprising, as Article 90 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says: “The National Assembly is an organ which has legislative power, and performs its duties as provided for in the constitution and laws. The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax.” As the financial contracts would also involve one between a Malaysian private company and the Cambodian government, some information towards the National Assembly and the public might have been expected.

All reports in the press welcomed this huge Malaysian investment – for example the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, was quoted in The Cambodia Daily saying “he was aware of the deals and believed that the investment would be a huge plus for the Cambodian economy.”

The climate of the reporting changed later, however, after it was revealed that the major part of the deals – the contract between the Malaysian company Nexbis and the Cambodian government (to provide items to print, including identity cards, passports, and visa – the contract is with the Cambodian Ministry of Interior) was not a Malaysian investment, but a contract for which the Cambodian government will have to pay US$700 million – an amount which corresponds to about 35% of the Cambodian government’s budget for 2010. This payment obligation covers the major part of the “one billion deal” which had been considered to be Malaysian investments in Cambodia.

Some comments were reported in The Cambodia Daily:

  • “That’s a very sizable sum” – Bretton Sciaroni, chairman of the International Business Club.
  • “I am in darkness. I know nothing” – the spokesperson of the Ministry of Information, Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak.
  • No information provided – the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koy Kuong.
  • National Police spokesperson Kirth Chanthatith said he did not know “what was going on.”
  • Ministry of Interior foreign police department in charge of visas Pen Piseth said he knew nothing.
  • Deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s passport department said he was completely unaware of the deal.
  • The director of the Immigration Department of the National Police Thong Lim: “I do not know about the deal.”
  • The Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance and Economy Hang Chuon Naron said he was unaware of the deal, “I don’t have any information about this. But I think it is not realistic.”

No surprise that now the question is raised, how this deal was concluded – obviously without an open process of competitive bidding. And the question of priorities, to find US$700 million for one of the biggest single deal ever entered into, has not been discussed in the National Assembly, responsible for the national budget.

And in addition, questions are raised about the nature of the company Nexbis – formerly Entertainment Media & Telecoms Corporation – which was hardly known in Cambodia. Now more and more information is coming from Australia, where Nexbis is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange – but it has not reported the Cambodian deal.

In closing, I repeat the Comment received. It is a question to the readers of The Mirror: “Do you find this investment not good to your country?”

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change – Tuesday, 11.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“Almost unbearable and hotter sunshine is getting public attention; this problem clearly shows that Cambodia is experiencing a change to a hotter climate as part of the global natural phenomena. The typhoon Ketsana indicated that Cambodia starts to face natural disaster, while the temperature is alarmingly getting hotter at present. In rural areas, the heat wave is affecting farmers, making it difficult for them to go out to their rice fields. The wind also brings the heat wave to wherever the people stay, even under the trees they still feel the hot wind.

“According to the weather forecast of 10 May 2010 of the Department of Meteorology, the temperature in low lying areas is 25 to 40 degrees Celsius, at the highlands 26 to 38, at the seashore 22 to 36. Based on the weather forecast of the website http://www.underground.com [not operational at time of editing], the temperature in Phnom Penh is 38 degrees, but the hottest temperature was up to 40 degrees, comparable to Ho Chi Minh City with 36 to 40. Bangkok has a higher temperature than Cambodia with 38 to 41 degrees. Besides, the temperature in Manila/Philippines is 36 to 44 degrees, in Jakarta/Indonesia 35 to 44, in Vientiane/Laos 37 to 43, and in Kuala Lumpur 31 to 42 etc.

“As it is almost the end of the Visakh Lunar Month, the weather should have turned from hot to cooler, but it is seen that in the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is rain in some areas, but in some others there is no rain at all, though the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology had forecast that there will be rain everywhere during the rainy season, and there will be no ‘small dry season’ during the rainy season. The hot temperature at present makes it difficult for people to endure it, as they never encountered something like this before.

“An official of the Department of Meteorology said that the temperature is hot because there is no rain. When the rain comes, the temperature will drop. The deputy head of the Department of Meteorology, Mr. Oum Rina, told Koh Santepheap on the phone that in April, in some areas like in Siem Reap and in the northwest, the temperature rose to 41 degrees Celsius. At other areas, the temperature was 38 to 40 degrees, but it declined when the rain came regularly. Mr. Oum Rina added that now, the temperature is still hot. In the northwest, it is 40 degrees and in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kompong Cham, and other provinces and cities, the temperature is only between 37 and 39 degrees.

“He went on to say that the hot temperatures can last until 14 or 15 May 2010, and then they will drop as the rain will start. There will be raining for a few days later in Phnom Penh and in some other areas, and the temperature will go down. This is all part of the problem of climate change.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #474, 11.5.2010

  • US$1 Billion Was Signed between the Private Sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia
  • Military Police Intercepted a Car Loaded with Artifacts, but the Driver Escaped [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2245, 11.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Malaysian Investors that Cambodia Opens Its Economy for All Investors
  • The US Embassy Prepares to Mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties with Cambodia [by organizing a concert on 13 May 2010]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #6511, 11.5.2010

  • Twenty Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask the Svay Rieng Court to Allow Them to Visit Meas Srey and Prum Chea at the Svay Rieng Prison [on 18 May 2010; both of them are jailed for removing border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

  • The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change
  • [Four] Armed Robbers Robbed a Fuel Station and Shot and Injured a Major Who Is the Owner of the Station [taking away some money and property – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3876, 11.5.2010

  • More Than 2,000 Families Face Eviction and Their Land Will Be Sized to Be Delivered to a Private Company [Mondolkiri]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #168, 11.5.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized Sand Dredging Operations in Cambodia [for exports to Singapore, saying that those operations seriously affect the beach and river eco-systems due to a lack of transparency and regulations of the government – it estimates that at present, up to more than 796,000 tonnes of sand are dredged every month]
  • [President of the Cambodian Independent Teacher Association] Rong Chhun: We Do Not Want Laws or the Authorities to Limit Our Freedom [he said so regarding the creation of a ‘democracy compound’ for not more than 200 people protesting]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5194, 11.5.2010

  • More Than US$36 Million of Cash Were Sent by Cambodian Workers [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] to Their Families in Cambodia within One Year [in 2009]
  • The Former Head of the Vietnamese Communist Party [Mr. Lê Khả Phiêu – Le Kha Phieu] Visits Cambodia [to strengthen solidarity between both countries]
  • The Kunthak Bopha Hospital Spends US$30 Million Each Year [to provide health services; US$2.5 million from the government, US$2.7 million from the Swiss government, and the rest is from the foundation of Professor Beat Richner]
  • A Shrimp Company [Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing of Canada] Sells it’s 31.48% Stake [to Leopard, a company in Asia; each day, the company can produce more than 10 tonnes of shrimps – Sihanoukville]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest – Friday, 7.5.2010

Posted on 7 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology invited the six governors from Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, and Pursat, and other related institutions, to attend a discussion in the morning of 6 May 2010 to determine what to do in three regions, and to decide actions on the reservoirs in a second area around the Tonle Sap Lake. The event was chaired by the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, at a meeting at the ministry, in order to find protective measures to timely prevent the possibility of a serious devastation of the Tonle Sap Lake and other related areas.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed that the meeting held on that day was in response to a wise decision and order of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. The three areas determined connect flooded forest to the Tonle Sap Lake, and those areas are covered by grass land, jungle with tall trees, and flooded forest. Based on aerial photos taken from planes, the flooded forest is being burnt down, but the burning is not for hunting animals. A working team conducted a study over three months by using aerial photos taken in 2005. The second study was also based on – new – aerial photos, and the third study depended on direct visits at the six provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake.

“Regarding this direct monitoring, Mr. Lim Kean Hor presented the findings and figures. According to the aerial photos taken in Kompong Thom, the size of the third area dropped to only 3,130 hectares, compared to 2005 when the size was 56,000 hectares. Therefore, in Kompong Thom more than 94% or 53,000 hectares were lost.

“In Kompong Chhnang, there are only 4,000 hectares at present, while before there were 101,000 hectares, which is a loss of as much as 95% or 97,000 hectares. This is a serious destruction, and if there are no thorough and timely interventions, the three areas that serve as a special eco-system, providing shelter for fish to lay eggs, and that are also a natural tourism site. will be lost. Therefore, there must be emergency decisions taken to protect these areas.

“The Minister added that if the cutting down of flooded forest continues, the areas will become barren land. Thus, the authorities must think of this and take action. If some people have been doing cultivation on the land inherited from their ancestors, they can keep the land, but if it is land gained from clearing of forest during the years 2003 to 2010, it will be confiscated and kept as flooded forest area. There are losses in all provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, but Kompong Thom and Kompong Chhnang sustained more serious destruction than the other four provinces.

“After presentations by the six province governors during the discussion, it was agreed that the size of the three areas of 640,000 hectares, based on the aerial photos taken in 2005, will be kept as protected area. The meeting agreed to send this conclusion to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to decide about it formally by issuing a sub-decree for the three areas.

“Relating to reservoirs in the second area, Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed, ‘First, please keep some existing resources, and second, consider that some reservoirs were not constructed technically correct.’

“The meeting decided to determine the three areas of 640,000 taken in 2005 to be protected areas. The actions to be taken with reservoirs in the second area of the Tonle Sap Lake depends upon the Tonle Sap Lake Authority.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 7 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #471, 7.5.2010

  • Cambodia Calls On Partner Countries to Continue Addressing the Global Crisis [such as the financial, the food, the climate crisis, and the crisis related to terrorism – according to the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting held in Phnom Penh from 5 to 6 May 2010]
  • A Secretary of State [of the Ministry Social Affairs] Is Accused of Cheating US$5,000 [from the residents of a commune in Battambang, violating a contract to provide US$5,000]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2242, 7.5.2010

  • Traders Continue to Transport Wood Anarchically in Chhloung District [Kratie]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

  • Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest
  • Most Beggars in Phnom Penh Are Children – Expert Officials Suspect that They Are Probably Forced [by their parents] to Do Begging
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage after Nine Villagers Died [at present, more than 30 other villagers are suffering from it – Kratie]
  • A Park between Roads 106 and 108 Will Be Designated as Democracy Compound [for protesters, not more than 200; it is located in the Wat Phnom commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3873, 7.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Political Stability in Siam [Thailand] Is Beneficial for Cambodia [for the economy and for politics], but the Neighboring Country Must Respect International Treaties

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #166, 7.5.2010

  • Ms. Helen Jarvis Will Resign from Her Position [as head of the Victims’ Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] at the End of This Month [for personal reasons]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Promised to Dissolve the Parliament in September 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5191, 7.5.2010

  • Three Fishermen, three Brothers, Were Killed by Lightning on the Sea during Light Rain [Kampot]
  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Release 14 Detained People, Accused of Destroying Public Forest

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Civil Society Supports the Crackdown on Forestry Crimes by the Prime Minister – Saturday, 10.4.2010

Posted on 11 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Phnom Penh: 118 organizations and associations expressed their support for the crackdown on forestry crimes by Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and some associations suggested that former Director General of the Forestry Administration Ty Sokun must be bought to a court to be convicted according to the law.

“During the press conference in the morning of 9 April 2010 at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh, representatives of 118 organizations and associations stated that as civil society organizations working in the Kingdom of Cambodia, they support the cracking down on forestry crimes ordered by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, where now, as a consequence, some officials have to face legal action, and some others are already being jailed. But in the meantime, all civil society organizations asked the Royal Government to continue to intercept such crimes as an on-going concern in order to protect the forest for the next generations.

“The executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, and the chair of the Human Rights Action Committee and executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, Mr. Hang Chhaya, expressed similar ideas, saying that civil society organizations support the Royal Government intercepting forestry crimes, and they asked the government to continue this crackdown.

“Representatives of various associations also present in the event, including Ms. Chen Thol, association representative from Kompong Speu, Mr. In Ham, association representative from Kompong Thom, Mr. Seng Sokheng, association representative from Oddar Meanchey, and Mr. Nov Vuth, association representative from Preah Vihear, asked the Royal Government to regularly suppress forest crimes and suggested that the Royal Government should directly check forests at community level that is being destructed by logging by merchants, by the powerful, and by the rich.

“Also, the joint statement of 118 organizations and associations voices support for the recent strict measures of the Royal Government to eliminate forestry crimes in Cambodia. The statement adds that for decades, the forest in Cambodia has been cut illegally and continually, even though the Royal Government stopped providing forestry concession land, and it is reported that most perpetrators are powerful and rich. The lack of measures against forestry crimes leads to heavy logging activities, and also some community forests are threatened.

“The statement asks the Royal Government to keep on publishing forestry crimes widely and to take legal action against perpetrators regardless of their political orientation, and to support forest protection communities in order to prevent illegal logging. Also, they called for the involvement by relevant bodies, like by involved civil society organizations. They asked the Royal Government to halt providing concession land that can affect the forest and suggested that the forestry administration strengthen their resolve to effectively implement the law to guarantee and protect the forest for the next generations.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2224, 10.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #455, 10.4.2010

  • Cambodia Denies the Information [from Thailand] Which Says that Cambodia Provides a Satellite Chanel for Television Transmissions of the Red-Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
  • Clashes in Bangkok Resulted in Eleven Soldiers and Fifteen Demonstrators Being Injured

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2224, 10.4.2010

  • Civil Society Support the Crackdown on Forestry Crimes by the Prime Minister
  • The ASEAN Summit Focuses on the Connection between Infrastructure and Climate Change

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6931, 10.4.2010

  • 37 Cubic Meters of Luxury Grade Wood and Additional Wood in Four Containers of Oknha [Ly Say Kheang] Hidden at a Riverside Was Found [Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3819, 10-11.4.2010

  • The Warning Message by the Yuon [Vietnamese] Prime Minister against Burma Might Encourage [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Reconsider [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Case [to allow him to return to the country and join in the elections – the Vietnamese Prime Minister called on the Burmese government to ensure that all political parties, including the leaders of the Burmese opposition party, should have the freedom to compete in the coming elections]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5173, 10.4.2010

  • The Editor-In-Chief of the Opposition Newspaper Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, Will Be Released from Prison during the Khmer New Year [on 14 April 2010]
  • The Laotian Authorities Released Seventeen Cambodians ahead of the Khmer New Year [after both sides had talked to each other recently]
  • Tax Income in March 2010 Amounted to US$61 Million [an increase by 19% compared to the corresponding period in 2009]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

China Continues to Refuse to Become a Member of the Mekong River Commission – Tuesday, 6.4.2010

Posted on 7 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Phnom Penh: China continues to refuse to become a member of the Mekong River Commission, but said that it will continue good cooperation with the Commission.

“The Minister of Meteorology and Water Resources, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, said so in the afternoon of 5 April 2010 at the Phnom Penh International Airport, after accompanying Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to attend the first Mekong River Commission summit from 4 to 5 April 2010 in Thailand.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor said, ‘All member countries of the Mekong River Commission try their utmost to encourage China and Myanmar to become members of the Commission. We have been doing this work for many years. But recently, the Undersecretary of State of Foreign Affairs of China announced that China will keep on cooperating with the Mekong River Commission to exchange information when the water gates are opened or closed during the rainy and the dry seasons etc…’

“Previously, there had been criticism about the bad impact of the construction of hydro-electric dams at the upper regions of the Mekong River in China, making the level of the downstream water shallower.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor added that the level of the water becomes shallower because of climate change. Recently, there have been droughts at the upstream countries, like in China, Laos, and Thailand. The level of rain dropped and thus, the level of the water of the river dropped also. Therefore, the construction of the hydro-electric dams must not be considered as the root problem. He went on to say that for the construction of each dam, there had been very careful studies. Independent assessors were selected to assess the environmental impact of the construction of hydro-electric dams in the upper regions.

“Also, Mr. Lim Kean Hor talked about the participation in the International Mekong River Commission summit held in Hua Hin in Thailand, saying that the prime ministers of four member countries, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and of China were present at the meeting. It was the first summit since the Commission was created 15 years ago. The summit focused on how to sustainably develop the Mekong River Basin in the four countries.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor went on to say that during the summit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen met with the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, and China supports and encourages cooperation with Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5169, 6.4.2010

Note – Additional Information

The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin states:

To promote, support, cooperate and coordinate in the development of the full potential of sustainable benefits to all riparian States and the prevention of wasteful use of Mekong River Basin waters, with emphasis and preference on joint and/or basin-wide development projects and basin programs through the formulation of a basin development plan, that would be used to identify, categorize and prioritize the projects and programs to seek assistance for and to implement at the basin level.

This declaration of principles is supported by practical requirements, by which all Member States committed themselves not to act independently, but in mutual consultation; the Dialogue Partners China and Myanmar did not make these commitments. The result is that the Member States can only administer together, what comes flowing down the Mekong River – after the upstream countries have decided themselves how much water may be used for hydro-electricity or for agricultural irrigation – that is not under a similar commitment for rules based cooperation.

Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement

Notification: Timely providing information by a riparian to the Joint Committee on its proposed use of water according to the format, content and procedures set forth in the Rules for Water Utilization and Inter-Basin Diversions.

Prior consultation: Timely notification plus additional data and information to the Joint Committee as provided in the Rules for Water Utilization and Inter-Basin Diversion, that would allow the other member riparians to discuss and evaluate the impact of the proposed use upon their uses of water and any other affects, which is the basis for arriving at an agreement. Prior consultation is neither a right to veto the use nor unilateral right to use water by any riparian without taking into account other riparians’ rights.

Proposed use: Any proposal for a definite use of the waters of the Mekong River system by any riparian, excluding domestic and minor uses of water not having a significant impact on mainstream flows.

In addition to the data and information required for Notification, the notifying State shall timely provide the Mekong River Commission Joint Committee with available and additional technical data and information on its proposed use of waters for an evaluation of impacts by the other riparian States.

The Malaysian News Agency Bernama reported

Climate Change To Blame For Mekong Droughts: Cambodian PM

PHNOM PENH, 6 April 2010 (Bernama) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday that blames on China over droughts of the Mekong River is baseless and the global climate change is to blame instead.

Hun Sen, who attended last week’s Mekong Summit in Hua Hin of Thailand along with other leaders and scientists, said: “They (some countries) are blaming China while China itself is being victimized by droughts.

“.. China’s Lancang River has no water, either,” the Xinhua news agency cited Hun Sen as saying here. “The upper part of China’s Yunnan province is also facing severe droughts, worse than Cambodia,” he said. “The level of water in the Mekong River totally depends on rain and the level of water fluctuates with the climate change,” said Hun Sen.

“I am not defending China, but I am saying this only to provide justice for China,” Hun Sen said, adding that he had a separate talk with China and Laos on the sidelines of the Mekong Summit in Thailand.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #453, 6.4.2010

  • A Wood Storehouse of the Canadia Bank in the Cultural Village [of Siem Reap] Was Raided, and Hundreds of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found
  • The King Will Visit Japan in May 2010 [to strengthen bilateral ties]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2220, 6.4.2010

  • A Short Armed Clash Broke Out on the Trop Mountain, but No Soldiers Were Wounded [Cambodian military official said that Thai soldiers began shooting at Cambodia trenches first]
  • Battambang Forestry Chief Arbitrarily Locked up Two Newspaper Agents [of Kampuchea Thmey and Koh Santepheap as they tried to question him about a car loaded with charcoal that was blocked to extort money]
  • Brigadier General Tep Phirum Was Accused of Unintentionally Causing Injury [to an English woman by his gunfire – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6927, 6.4.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted the Draft Law about Co-Ownership of Buildings by Foreigners
  • Regarding Forestry Officials Trading [918 pieces of] Ebony, a Court Decided to Detain Mr. Ouk Kimsan, while Mr. Vann Sophanna Was Not Detained [Koh Kong]
  • More Than 26 Tonnes of Fish Died of Poison, a Second Time Case in 2010, and the Fish Breeders Blame an Ethanol Company [Kandal]

Meatophum, Vol.54, #766, 5-10.4.2010

  • A Countrywide Census to Find Ghost Names of Civil Servants Will Start on 6 April 2010

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3851, 6.4.2010

  • Surprisingly [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Prohibits [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra from Entering Cambodia while Red-Shirt Groups [his supporters] Are Demonstrating in Bangkok

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #146, 6.4.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Praised [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen after the Surprising Position Taken on [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he will not allow Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to use Cambodia as a political basis against the Thai government]
  • Eleven Citizens Who Were Arrested for Blocking National Road 2 Were Released [they continue to protest over a land dispute with a company – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5169, 6.4.2010

  • The Leaders of the Member Countries of the Mekong River Commission Recognized Climate Change Problems as Priority
  • China Continues to Refuse to Become a Member of the Mekong River Commission
  • A Remorque Moto Turned over and Killed Two Men, where One of Them Held Four Yama [Ecstasy] Tablets in His Palm [Phnom Penh]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Another Thunderstorm – or the Start of a Climate Change – Sunday, 28.3.2010

Posted on 29 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

When we wrote, one week ago, about the raid on the Tuek Thla market, where military uniforms, but also many kinds of handguns and ammunition are sold, we mentioned also a cynical voice – “everyone knows this problem” as one paper wrote – as this was not the first such raid. And in the past, after a short time, the illegal trade used to come back. It had been reported that “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them.” There were no reports that persons in the military, who had supplied these materials illegally, were punished.

The Prime Minister had warned, in a different context, “Police and military chiefs had better leave their positions if they do not dare to crack down on brothels and gambling sites, being afraid of interventions.” He was aware that persons ‘higher up’ scare lower level officials so that they do not do their duty. But these ‘higher up’ were hardly touched. The ambiguities were addressed in a headline, “The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders – The persons who were arrested are mostly workers handling the wood on the trucks and the truck drivers.” So the old discrepancy between the law, and its enforcement, seemed to continue.

But the past week brought changes.

There had been reports of convoys transporting illegally cut wood, being shielded by cars of high ranking military officers. Now it was reported from Oddar Meanchey that high level military leaders had not only found illegally cut wood, but had confiscated thirteen cars – obviously a massive operation.

The Prime Minister is reported to have said, in a meeting of the cabinet, that forestry crimes have to be considered as acts of national betrayal, an opinion, which – though with other words – is very similar to the concerns expressed in former studies on deforestation in Cambodia by Global Witness and others.

In one paper we read, “All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal.”

In the meantime, such statements were followed by a series of reports from different provinces, that more and more storehouses for wood were found.

  • On 22 March 2010, authorities in Kompong Cham checked seven different storehouses for wood. It is reported that the seven storehouses store more than 2,000 pieces of luxury wood, and the traders had prepared it to be transported to Vietnam. “During checking everything, all the owners were able to flee.”
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Cracked Down On a Big Storehouse of Luxury Wood in Chrouy Chongva [Phnom Penh] That Stores Various Goods, and They Seized 427 Pieces of Wood
  • A Strong Campaign Continues after an Illegal Storehouse for Wood of Oknha Ang Try, the [Owner-]Director of the Tiger Beer Company, Was Intercepted [almost 1,000 cubic meters of wood were found – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted a Third Wood Storehouse, Seizing 523 Pieces of Wood [about 15 cubic meters] and 66 Round Poles

There are different opinions, why all these warehouses with huge amounts of cut wood pieces awaiting export had not been found earlier on. But the more important question is, what will happen next: will all the suspects – including the Oknhas Sok Kong (the head of the Sokimex conglomerate) and Oknha Lao Meng Khin (a director of the Pheapimex Group, involved in the filling of the Beong Kak Lake, and also involved in the taking over of the historical Renakse Hotel and now most recently also of the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals) – be investigated in a transparent way?

It will not be only interesting, but it may be a decisive new start to see, if those persons, being suspected to have betrayed the nation, will be cleared from the suspicion, or will again only be “educated” – as if they would not have known that there was illegal deforestation and illegal trade – or if there will be any real punishment meted out by the courts for those who were involved in massive illegal operations, which the Prime Minister denounced strongly.

This will show if the present thunderstorm, which the Prime Minister’s words has created at a strength never seen before, will have introduced a climate change, or, after the storm has calmed down, things will continue as they used to, like after every storm at the Tuek Thla market.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Anti-Corruption Law Was Adopted with 100% of the Votes in Support – Friday, 12.3.2010

Posted on 13 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

Note:

Apologies for the delay – I am still at an ICANN conference – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global coordination for the Internet name space – in Nairobi/Kenya. I hope to be back in Phnom Penh Monday. I try to avoid delays – but I am kept busy at the conference and do not always have Internet access when I would like to have it.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: An anti-corruption law was discussed and adopted by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the morning of 11 March 2010 with 82 votes in favor from the 82 voters present.

“In the morning of 11 March 2010, the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia held its session to discuss and to adopt an anti-corruption draft law, and the proceedings were completed despite objections and a boycott by opposition party parliamentarians. According to information available, after Chapter 4 of the anti-corruption draft had been discussed and adopted, during a break, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians decided to walk out of the session, saying that the anti-corruption draft does not protect the interests of the citizens but rather the interests of corrupt people.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, said during the discussion in the morning of 11 March 2010 that if the government creates a law in such a way, it is not necessary to have an anti-corruption law. He criticized that the draft law has many problems.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kompong Cham, Mr. Cheam Channy, said that if they want an active participation [against corruption] by the citizens, there should be no punishment against those who provide information [about corruption], otherwise no one dares to participate. As for Mr. Yim Sovann, he said he could not accept this draft law because it protects corrupt people. In addition, the budget of the Anti-Corruption Unit is to be part of the budget of the Council of Ministers. Therefore, he does not believe corruption can be prevented. He said that most corrupt people are working in the government. Thus, if the Anti-Corruption Unit is not independent, it is hard to trust it.

“Mr. Yim Sovann also mentioned that the declaration of assets must be made to be known publicly. If it is made only by a confidential letter, it is not a declaration. ‘We need to let our people know the assets of their leaders.’ At that time, he announced not to attend the session which was to start at 10:30.

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, the representative of the Royal Government to defend the draft, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, said that the points raised by opposition party parliamentarians seem to imply that the law is useless. He said, however, that this draft law is crucial, and aims at combating corruption and some vicious people effectively. Also, this law involves various units and institutions to implement it cooperatively. In addition, even a good law is not always observed.

“Relating to the discussion and the adoption of the anti-corruption draft law, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights had sent a letter to the president of the National Assembly, saying that the draft law is prepared in a secretive way and it is not discussed with civil society organizations, and the Center asked the Royal Government to urgently deal with the concern that the goal of this law lacks political independency, it does not involve public participation, and it fails to protect informants disclosing cases of corruption.

“The United Nations released a statement welcoming the discussion and the adoption of the anti-corruption law by the National Assembly, saying that the anti-corruption law has been long awaited. The statement adds that the United Nations country team in Cambodia has been actively supporting the adoption of this important law since 2004. The draft law should be made available for public discussion with transparency and public participation, in order to ensure that it complies with international standard, as required by the Constitution, and to guarantee the protection of the rights and duties of the Cambodian citizens who are to benefit most from this law.

“The United Nations hopes that it is not too late to encourage the National Assembly to allow enough time for parliamentarians, civil society, donors, and the United Nations to study this law, and, if it is necessary, to amend some points. The United Nations in Cambodia hopes and encourages the National Assembly and the Senate to discuss this law in view of the possibility to amend it if it is necessary.

“The United Nations said that this statement is a contribution of the efforts to reorganize the law to make it more effective at present and in the future.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2199, 12.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 12 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #432, 12.3.2010

  • Japan Grants More Than US$670,000 to the Cambodian Mine Action Center [to clear mines in the northern regions of Cambodia]
  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Encourages the Protection of Wild Elephants [in Cambodia, as they are threatened by human activities and by climate change; the Cambodian side claimed that there are more than 270 elephants in the country while the WWF found that there are only 170]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2199, 12.3.2010

  • The Anti-Corruption Law Was Adopted with 100% of the Votes in Support
  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Announced that He Would Resign and Allow the Parliament to be Dissolved if Public Security Would Develop into Chaos
  • One Chinese and one Khmer Man Were Arrested for Storing and Distributing Nearly 20 Tonnes of Fake Medicines [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #743, 12.3.2010

  • The Fate of [the Burmese elected democracy leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and of [the Cambodian opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Are the Same, as They Are Imprisoned and Lose the Right to Participate in Elections

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #624, 12.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The National Assembly Adopted a Law That Is an Iron Net to Defend Those Who Commit Corruption

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6906, 12.3.2010

  • The One-Star Navy General Who Surprisingly Caused Trouble in a School and Committed Violence at the Seashore Province [of Sihanoukville] Was Arrested

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3830, 12.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy: The Anti-Corruption Law Is a Tool Used to Protect and to Hide Corruption, and to Punish Common Civil Servants

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #129, 12.3.2010

  • A Conflictive Anti-Corruption Law Was Approved by the National Assembly, but Concerns Remain [observers were astonished when the National Assembly approved that anti-corruption draft law consisting of 59 chapters within just one day and a half]
  • Sudan Is Interested to Invest in Agriculture in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5148, 12.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted an Anti-Corruption Law after Opposition Party Parliamentarians Walked Out [of the session]
  • A Man [a gold seller and currency exchanger] Was Fatally Shot and His Wife Was Seriously Wounded in a Robbery in Front of Their House, and Property Worth About US$10,000 Was Taken Away [the two robbers are not yet identified – Meanchey]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...